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"Contends that the atheistic and soulless Buddhism was drawn from the Great 
Vehicle/ which was a spurious system introduced about the time of the Christian era, 
whereas the Little Vehicle compiled by Asoka contained the motto, Confess and 
believe in God. There are a large number of passages drawn from the sacred books, 
which tend to prove that Mr. Lillie is right in his theory of Buddhist theology. Even 
Dr. Rhys Davids admits that the Cakkavati Buddha was to early Buddhists what the 
Messiah Logos was to early Christians. If this be so, as Mr. Lillie is justified in asking, 
how can an atheist believe in a Word of God made flesh ? 

uncompromising antagonism to all national religious rites that were opposed to the gnosis 
or spiritual development of the individual ; beggary, continence, and asceticism for 
religious teachers." Spectator. 

" Contains many quotations from the Buddhist religious writings, which are beautiful 
and profound a most readable book." Saturday Re-view. 

" Our author has unquestionably the story-teller s gift, and is able to infuse into his 
allegorical Buddha something of the personal power and sweet magnanimity which must 
have distinguished the beloved Tathagata. What is more, Mr. Lillie, who has evidently 
been an eye-witness of the scenes he describes, most happily relieves the somewhat 
monotonous marvels of the Lalita Vistara, with bright realistic pictures of Indian 
religious ceremonies and jungle scenery." 6" t. James s Gazette. 

" Mr. Lillie shows that Buddha s object was, as Christ s was afterwards, to teach a 
belief in a spiritual God, and a future state of existence depending on the spiritual state 
of the soul in this life, and to destroy priestcraft. Instead of his disciples denying a God, 
they honoured Him, solely because they believe that God spoke through him." West 
minster Review. 

" A story of marvellous interest. . . . The author has treated his subject with great 
lucidity and vigour, and displays great acuteness and erudition." Liverpool Albion. 

" The main object of the volume is to refute the erroneous view of Buddhism furnished 
by the Hibbert Lectures of 1881, and the refutation is complete. ... Mr. Lillie shows, 
on the best authority, that at the time of Hwen Thsang, when the controversy between 
the two parties was furiously raging, the Buddhism of Ceylon was that of the Great 
Vehicle, the innovating Buddhism. ... Dr. Rhys Davids has plainly shuffled the two 
Buddhisms together." Public Opinion. 








" He shall be the last to obtain the great spiritual light ; and he will become a Lori 
called the Buddha of Brotherly Love(Ma.itKya)."uit(tAa sjr0Jkecj> of his sutccssor 
m the " Saddhanna Pundartka " 





Frontispiece, ] 





I 9.^7 

(.The rights of translation and of reproduction arc reserved.) 


IT has been wisely said that, to understand any solitary 
religion, two, at least, must be studied. This seems essen 
tially important when the religion is Eastern, and the student 
has been educated in the West. There is a tendency in the 
human mind to explain to itself that which is remote by that 
which is familiar. The Western mind is logical, matter-of- 
fact, impatient of symbolism. And yet Christianity is an 
Asiatic religion, and all Asiatics tell us that symbolism is 
the only language by which the facts of the spiritual world 
can be treated. 

Thus it has been shown by the Orientalist, Professor 
Wilson, that the three Avesthas of the Trinity (translated 
" hypostases " by the Gnostics) have come from India. 1 
Colebrooke has pointed out that the hymns of the Rig Veda, 
though avowedly addressed to many deities, are, " according 
to the most ancient annotations of the Indian scripture," 
resolvable into a triad, and, ultimately, " one God." ^ It seems 
to result from this that the meaning of this triad may be 
more profitably sought in the ancient Indian books than in 
vaticinations of the blunt and literal monks that composed 
the Council of Niccea. 

We interpret the great drama that began our era by our 
local experience. Thus the author of " Ecce Homo " has 
pictured to himself the great sacramentum, or mystery of 

1 "Vishnu Parana," p. 7, note. 2 " Essays," vol. i. p. 25. 

<* 3 


Christianity, by his experience of " club dinners." And 
Archdeacon Paley has seen in the twelve apostles twelve 
British jurymen empanneled to investigate "miracles." 
I must confess that, until I studied the religions of the 
East, the great drama of Palestine appeared to me a drama 
with unintelligible antagonisms and a motiveless character. 

The Old and New Testaments are studied very carefully 
in England, and the Indian religions are scarcely studied at 
all. And yet the latter throw quite invaluable light on the 
former. To this day the maidens of Krishna weep for the 
Indian Tammuz, the departed god of summer. To this day, 
as in the days of Aaron, the priest of Siva throws ashes in 
the air to bring a malediction on his foemen. To this day 
the Indian prophet sits under the " tree of Deborah " and the 
" oak of enchantments." x He explains to us the mystery 
of yoga, or union between the seen and the unseen worlds. 
He explains to us what the Roman Catholic Prayer-book 
means by its prayer that, as Christ deigned to become a par 
ticipator in our humanity, we may be allowed to partake of 
His Divinity. 

If only for the sake of historical illustration, a civilization 
which is still so like the civilization of Palestine in the holy 
epoch deserves to be studied. 

The position of her gracious Majesty Queen Victoria is a 
very peculiar one. In the sixteenth century, one Trithemius, 
a Benedictine, uttered a strange prophecy. He announced 
that, in November, 1879, a new universal kingdom would 
arise which would seize the gates of the East. Whatever 
may be thought of this prediction, it is plain that the gates 
of the East are now in English hands. Owing to free-trade, 
also, fifty-five out of every hundred sailors on the ocean are 
Englishmen ; and the even balance of military force on the 
Continent, as well as in the opposing sections of the United 
States, has given to us a physical prominence that the 
1 See Dean Stanley s " Sinai and Palestine," p. 141. 


victories of Marlborough and Wellington failed to gain us. 
But if we leave the plane of matter, the position of the queen 
is more remarkable still. She holds in her dominions the 
most vital sections of all the great religions of the past. Her 
subjects pray to Christ, and Buddha, and Brahma, and 
Jehovah. They honour Zarathustra and Moses and Ma 
homet. Benares, the holy city of the greatest religious section 
of her subjects, is in her domains. She guards the so-called 
" Tooth of Buddha," whose possessor is always promised the 
empire of the world. No wonder that thoughtful minds 
begin to see in all this a possible mission for England, 
namely, to fuse the old creeds in one great crucible, and 
eliminate the superstitious parts. Ancient creeds had much 
once in common, and it is chiefly this common portion, the 

vital essence, that has been allowed to evaporate. 

" Five hundred years, Ananda," said Buddha, in the " Cul- 

lavagga," "will the doctrine of the truth abide!" 1 He also 
prophesied that a new Buddha would come Maitreya (the 
Buddha of Brotherly Love). Buddha died 470 B.C. ; so 
exactly five hundred years after his death, the Buddha of 
Brotherly Love began to preach. 

1 Cited by Dr. Oldenberg, " Buddhism," p. 327 ; see also Beal, 
" Romantic History," p. 16. 




Object of Ancient Scriptures To reveal the Mysteries The " Kab 
balah " Origen The Heavenly Man The Conceivable and 
the Inconceivable God Genealogies of Buddha and Christ 
Miraculous Conception The Elephant i 


The Double Annunciation Birth of Buddha under a Bending Tree 
Similar Legends concerning Christ The Star of Buddha and 
the Star of Christ The Buddhist Simeon Name-giving not a 
Jewish rite The Child Christ and the Sparrows King Herod 
and King Bimbisara " Thy Parents seek Thee " ... 14 


The Homage of the Idols " Gold, and Frankincense, and Myrrh 1 
The Disputation with the Doctors 


"Out of Egypt have I called My Son" "The Great City which 
spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt" Two Mothers of the 
Perfected Mystic Two Births Why Mary and her Son are 
always together in the " Gospel of the Infancy " 35 

Buddha s " Great Renunciation " 41 


The Nazarite Mystical and Anti-rnystical Israel Christ usually 
supposed to have belonged to the latter Position combated 
Early Persecution of Disciples ... ,.. ... ... ... 64 





Mystical Israel Essenes and Therapeuts Letter of Philo to He- 
pha^stion Therapeut and Buddhist Monasteries Points of 
Contact between the Buddhists and Israel Mystical The 
Buddhist and Essene Baptism The Buddhist and Essene 

Buddhism and the u Kabbalah "... ... 86 


The Baptist "The People prepared for the Lord" Were they 
Essenes? o NaCapaTos Nazarites or Sabeans The Book of 
Adam ... 


Jesus and the Baptist Great Importance of the Baptism of Jesus 
Initiation of Early Christians Buddha s Baptism, Fasting, and 
Temptation ... ... 107 


Growth in Spirit symbolized by the Growth of the Food of 
the People Buddhist Festivals regulated by Rice Culture 
The Zodiac as a Symbol of Stages of Spiritual Progress In 
Buddhism In Christianity The "Monastery of our Lord" 
Description by Josephus ... IJ 6 


The u Signs of an Apostle "Conflicting views of Catholics and 
Protestants about Miraculous Gifts Magic Rites of the " Kab 
balah" The "Twelve Great Disciples" of Buddhism " Go 
ye into all the World " : 3 2 


Essenism in the Bible Continence exacted with Communism, 
Vegetarianism, and Water-drinking " Follow Me" The 
Voice in the Sky The King of Remedies The Buddhist 
" Sermon on the Mount" The Buddhist Beatitudes The New 
Commandment ... ... ... ...144. 


"Glad Tidings "Faith The Sower The Armour of Light 
" How hardly shall they that have Riches instruct themselves 
in the Way" Names of Buddha The Metempsychosis in Ju 
daism and Christianity 157 




Feeding the Multitudes Similarity to Buddhist Festivals Feet- 
washing Walking on the Water Parables Dress 167 


Christianity and Buddhism at first propagated secretly Descent 
into Hell Transfiguration on a Mount Triumphal Entry into 
the "City of the King" The Buddhist "Last Supper" Cup 
of Agony Portents at the Death of a Buddha "They parted 
My Garments" Trinity in Unity ... 185 


Ritual Saint Worship Cosmology Progress of Buddhism In 
dulgences Dispensations Councils to put down Heresy 
Close Similarities in the Election of the Grand Lama and the 
Pope ... 202 

How did Buddhism reach the West ? ... ... 230 

Christianity at Alexandria The Church at Jerusalem 241 

Bishop Lightfoot on the Essenes ... ... 257 


Pope Victor Rome supersedes Jerusalem The Introduction of 
Religion by Body-Corporate Marcion He represented the 
Teaching of St. Paul His Gospel Accused and Accusers 
changing Places Testimony of Marcion against Roman Inno 
vators 286 


Rama The " Grove of Perfection "Early Brahmin Rites Bow- 
shooting Marriage of Rama Palace Intrigues Banished to 
the Forest Rape of Sita Hanuman Passage of Adam s 
Bridge by Monkeys Fight between Rama and Ravana ... 304 


Zodiacal Interpretation of the Story The Horse the Indian Aries 
The Lower Marriage The Indian Tree or Virgo with the 
Lion Throne The Bird Garuda Scorpion and the Bow The 
Elephant, Cup, and Quoit of Death 3 2 7 




Eleusis Similarity between the Story of Rama and the Story of 
Bacchus Other Points of Contact between the Indian and 
Eleusinian Mysteries .. 343 

The Legend of Osiris The Novice Utanka Hiram Abif 347 

The A vatara of Krishna ... ... ... .., ... ... ... 365 

The Legend of the Five Sons of Pandu ... ... ... ... 384 

INDEX ... 407 


CHRIST WITH THE CHAJOTH ... ... Frontispiece 


RUDE MONASTERY, SIAM ... ... ... 75 


OLD BUDDHIST ZODIAC ... ... ... 119 

BUDDHA PREACHING ... ... ... ... 140 

BUDDHIST MONKS ... ... ... 182 


TRIRATNA OUTLINE ... ... ... ... 200 

THE GNOSTIC TRIAD ... ... ... ... j} 2 oi 


THE CAVE-TEMPLE OF KARLI ... ... ... 207 

THE BUDDHIST HIGH ALTAR ... ... ... 208 


OF CEYLON ... 22I 



Object of Ancient Scriptures To reveal the Mysteries The "Kabbalah" 
Origen The Heavenly Man The Conceivable and the Incon 
ceivable God Genealogies of Buddha and Christ Miraculous Con 
ception The Elephant. 


ORIGEN informs us that all Scriptures have two meanings 
the one spiritual, the other " historical " or " bodily," the last 
for those that are not prepared to know the mysteries of the 
kingdom of heaven. 

These mysteries in all ancient religions were, in brief, that 
man had matter for a mother, and spirit for a father ; and that 
the object of his earth-life was to conquer his material nature 
and unite himself with the Great Spirit of the universe. The 
Christian " mysteries " did not differ in essence from the other 
mysteries. This fact was put forward as a virtue by the 
early Fathers of the Church, although it has since been deemed 
a blemish and denied. 

The process by which man advanced in knowledge of 
spirit was called the " contemplative life " in Palestine ; 
" magic " in Persia ; the " Bodhi," or " Buddhism," in India ; 
"Gnosticism," the Greek equivalent of the Indian word in 



About two hundred years before the Christian era a re 
markable mystical movement arose amongst the Jews. It 
came from Alexandria, but its head-quarters in Palestine 
nestled amongst the protecting malaria of the shores of the 
Lake Marea, for it was bitterly persecuted. In Egypt these 
mystics were called Therapeuts ; in Palestine, Essenes and 
Nazarites. In the view of Dean Hansel, this movement was 
due to Buddhist missionaries, who visited Egypt within two 
generations of the time of Alexander the Great 1 a proposi 
tion which I shall show is confirmed by the stones of King 
Asoka in the East, and by Philo in the West. I shall show, 
further, that the rites of this, the higher section of Judaism, 
were purely Buddhist, and that two remarkable works, which 
embody their teaching, minutely reproduce the theogony of 
Buddhism. These works are the " Sohar " of the " Kabbalah," 
and the " Codex Nasarseus." 

I purpose further to show that Christianity emerged from 
this, the higher Judaism, and that its Bible, containing the 
life of its Founder, its rites, dress, teachings, hierarchy, 
architectural buildings, Councils to put down heresy, theogony 
and cosmogony, bear so minute a resemblance to the rites, 
etc., of Buddhism, that it seems hard to doubt that some 
communication existed and long continued between the two. 
Does this mean that Christianity " was borrowed en bloc from 
Buddhism " ? as the Church Quarterly Review, misquoting an 
early work of mine, reports me to have announced. It 
certainly does not mean that, for no mysticism can be 
borrowed from the outside world at all. It simply means 
that the movement of Jesus sought the aid of mystical, and 
not anti-mystical, Israel. In Palestine, as in India, the gnosis, 
or knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, 
was restricted to a priestly faction, and Christ s main design, 
like that of Buddha, was to break up this exclusiveness. 

To get the meaning of an ancient Scripture eighteen 

hundred years after it was written, it is important to study 

less the words than the writers of the words. Christianity 

and its gospel emerged from the mystical section of Israel. 

1 "Gnostic Heresies," p. 31. 


Have we any means of judging what canons of composition 
would guide such writers in framing a life of Jesus, or Samson, 
or David ? Fortunately we possess the " Kabbalah," the secret 
wisdom of these mystics. Listen to the " Sohar " on the Jewish 

" If the Law simply consisted of ordinary expressions 
and narratives, e.g. the words of Esau, Hagar, Laban, 
the ass of Balaam, or of Balaam himself, why should it be 
called the Law of truth, the perfect Law, the true witness of 
God ? Each word contains a sublime source, each narrative 
points, not only to the single instance in question, but also to 
generals " (" Sohar," iii. 149 &). 

"Woe be to the son of man who says that the Tora 
[Pentateuch] contains common sayings and ordinary narra 
tives. For if this were the case, we might in the present day 
compose a code of doctrines from profane writings which 
should excite greater respect. If the Law contains ordinary 
matter, then there are nobler sentiments in profane odes. 
Let us go and make a selection from them, and we shall be 
able to compile a far superior code. But every word of the 
Law has a sublime sense and a heavenly mystery. . . . Now, 
the spiritual angels had to put on an earthly garment when 
they descended to earth ; and if they had not put on such a 
garment they could neither have remained nor have been 
understood on the earth. And just as it was with the angels, 
so it is with the Law. When it descended on earth the Law 
had to put on an earthly garment to be understood by us, 
and the narratives are its garment. There are some who 
think that this garment is the real Law, and not the spirit 
which it clothed ; but these have no portion in the world to 
come. And it is for this reason that David prayed, Open 
Thou mine eyes, that I may behold the wondrous things out 
of Thy Law (Ps. cxix. 18). What is under the garment of 
the Law ? There is the garment which every one can see ; 
and there are foolish people who, when they see a well- 
dressed man, think of nothing more worthy than his beautiful 
garment, and take it for the body, whilst the worth of the 
body itself consists in the soul. The Law, too, has a body. 


This is the commandments which are called the body of 
the Law. This body is clothed in garments which are the 
ordinary narratives. The fools of this world look at nothing 
else but this garment, which consists of the narratives of the 
Law. They do not know any more, and do not understand 
what is beneath this garment. But those who have more 
understanding do not look at the garment, but at the body 
beneath it (i.e. the moral) ; whilst the wisest, the servants of 
the heavenly King who dwells at Mount Sinai, look at 
nothing else but the soul (i.e. the secret doctrine), which is the 
root of all the real Law ; and these are destined in the world 
to come to behold the Soul of this soul (i.e. the Deity), which 
breathes in the Law" (" Sohar," iii. 152 a). 1 

Origen also affirms that the object of all Scriptures, the 
Jewish and the Christian, is " to wrap up and conceal, under 
the covering of some history and narrative of visible things, 
the hidden mysteries." 2 He says, further, that the outside 
story or historical narrative contains purposely interruptions, 
improbabilities, impossibilities. All this is done by the Holy 
Spirit, " in order that, seeing those events which lie on the 
surface can be neither true nor useful, we may be led to the 
investigation of that truth which is more deeply concealed, 
and to the ascertaining of a meaning worthy of God in those 
Scriptures which we believe to be inspired by Him." 

He says, further, that the Christian Scriptures, like the 
Jewish, are to be subjected to the same canons of interpreta 
tion. In the case of Christ s temptation, for instance, on the 
surface this cannot plainly be a literal narrative of a purely 
historical event. " And many other instances similar to this 
will be found in the Gospels by any one who will read them 
with attention and will observe that in those narratives which 
appear to be literally recorded there are inserted and inter 
woven things which cannot be admitted historically, but which 
may be accepted in a spiritual signification." 4 

1 Ginsburg, " The Kabbalah," p. 47. 

2 " De Principiis," lib. iv. cap. i. 

3 "Anti-Nicene Christian Library : Origen," i. p. 311. 

4 Ibid., p. 317. 


Turning to the life of Buddha, as contained in the " Lalita 
Vistara," we find that that work also explicitly states that 
it is written to reveal the mysteries of the Indian wise men 
(Buddhas), and show how a mortal can acquire the " divine 
vision," with its concomitant " magical powers." 1 

When we see thus that the lives of Jesus and of Buddha 
are framed upon the same lines, we should not be astonished 
to find considerable analogy between them. As a revelation 
of the mysteries, they must be almost identical, if there is great 
divergence historically. But if our somewhat material modern 
theology errs in one direction in attempting to eliminate the 
mystical element, certain mystical writers, like Mr. Melville 
and Mr. Frederick Tennyson, have erred as conspicuously in 
another. They have sought to eliminate the historical element 
with equal completeness, forgetting a prominent doctrine of 
all mysticism, that all things in the unseen world have their 
counterparts in the seen. 

" The lower world," says the " Sohar " (ii. 20 a\ " is made 
after the pattern of the upper world. Everything that exists 
in the upper world is to be found, as it were, in a copy upon 
earth. Still the whole is one." 2 


" God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past 
unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us 
by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also 
He made the worlds ; who being the Brightness of His glory, and the 
express Image of His Person, and upholding all things by the word of 
His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the 
right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. i.). 

In the Pali legendary life of Buddha, when the holy infant 
first sees the light, the immortal spirits thus greet him 

" O Purusha, the equal to thee exists not here. Where 
will a superior be found ? " 

Who was Purusha ? 

From very early days man seems to have known that 

1 Foucaux s translation, pp. 7, 401. 

2 See Ginsburg, p. 22. 


he had a great destiny before him. This was to unite himself 
at length, without loss of individuality, with the Great Spirit 
of the universe. Thus a delicate problem arose, namely, how 
to find some analogy or symbolic connection between the 
two-legged creature, man, and the splendid mountains and 
seas and stars that clothed the Great Spirit. Two answers 
suggested themselves. 

1. God was imaged as a transcendental man. In the 
" Kabbalah," or secret wisdom of the Jews, he was called "the 
Heavenly Man," and he represented the universe and its 
breathing inhabitants. This was the Indian Purusha. 

2. The second solution took for symbol the dome of 
heaven, with the ecliptic for base, and the Dragon, " the Centre 
of the Macrocosm," as it is called in the "Kabbalah," for apex. 
This figured God, and it was feigned that man, in his passage 
from the animal to the deific, passed through the various 
mansions of the ecliptic like the sun. "The mysteries are 
written in the vault of heaven," says the " Kabbalah." 

The great bible of Catholic mystics has always been the 
works of the so-called Dionysius the Areopagite. These may 
not be quite due to St. Denis of France, as Parisian abbes 
imagine ; and A.D. go may be too early a date for them ; but 
it is difficult to date them A.D. 600, as is now the fashion, for 
without doubt we get in them an able exposition of early 
Christian Gnosticism. The absence of anything like a con 
troversial tone is very remarkable. The writer does not seem 
to be aware that there is any other Christianity besides his 
lofty mysticism. If he had had any knowledge of the 
shallow diatribes of Irenseus and Tertullian, he would cer 
tainly have met some of their anti-Gnostic arguments at least 

St. Dionysius affirms that, in the view of the Therapeut, 
or perfected mystic, God is a Being dwelling in the super- 
luminous obscurity which it is the special function of the 
mystic to try and pierce. This God can only be defined 
by negatives, and He is to be understood by Agnosticism 
rather than Gnosticism. He has no form, body, quantity, 
quality, action, passion. He cannot be called Soul, Know- 


ledge, Wisdom, Father, Son. " He made darkness His secret 
place," says the writer, citing Ps. xviii. 12. "His pavilion 
round about Him was the dark waters." l 

The descent of this inert, inconceivable God is the main 
teaching of Buddhism. The Indian Capricorn (I copy a bas- 

Fig. i. 

relief from Buddha Gaya) is an elephant emerging from a 
makara, or leviathan. This is the meaning of Buddha coming 
to earth as a white elephant. 
It is called in the " Lalita Vis- 
tara," Airavana (born of the 
waters). 2 In the symbolism of 
the catacombs this sea-monster 
is equally prominent. "The 
sign of the kingdom of heaven 

is the Prophet Jonah," said Christ. In consequence, we con 
stantly see his figure emerging from a sea-monster. But 

1 St. Denys, " CEuvres," traduites par 1 Abbe J. Deluc, pp. 306, 314. 

2 " Lalita Vistara," p. 196. 



sometimes the "Jonah" is only a child (Fig. 3). This, of 
course, means that Jonah is the Child Christ. Fig. 4, also 

from the catacombs, is an 
interesting one. Christ s 
special symbol is Aries, 
which in India is a horse. 
Here we see the horse 
emerging from the waters. 
It is significative of the 
great distance that we have 
travelled from the epoch 
of Christ that modern 
thought pronounces all 
this barren and fanciful, and modern theology actually con 
demns it. In point of fact, the Gnosticism that is taught in 
the rude frescoes of Jonah in the catacombs is the sole idea 
in this world of appearances that is not barren. We have 

Fig. 4 . 

come here to learn by experience the distinction between 
matter and spirit ; and St. Dionysius, whatever his date, gives 
us the secret teaching of the early Church. In the Fathers 
we get often the same teaching, less lucidly expressed. 

Tertullian draws a distinction between the active Christ 
and "the Father who is invisible and unapproachable and 


placid." He cites the Saviour as saying that " no man 
knoweth the Father, save the Son." Of Christ he says that 
" He it was who at all times came down to hold converse with 
men from Adam on to the patriarchs and prophets in vision, 
in dream, in mirror, in dark saying ; " He is Creator and 
Judge. 1 

From this veiled God it is possible, of course, to derive 
atheism ; but it is patent that the basic idea is the very 
reverse of atheistic. " God is called Reason," says St. 
Dionysius. 2 

In Buddhism, both the veiled and the unveiled God are 
called Buddha (divine intelligence) a curious name to select 
if God then meant unintelligent causation. Many Asiatics 
now hold that God is not a Being, but only a lofty state of 
the human soul. Such an idea could only have sprung from 
theism. We must conceive God before we can strive to be 
like Him. We must believe in Him before we can discard 

This Heavenly Man of the "Kabbalah" was plainly also 
St. Paul s idea of Christ : " For as the body is one, and hath 
many members, and all the members of that one body, being 
many, are one body : so also is Christ. For by one Spirit 
are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or 
Gentiles, whether we be bond or free ; and have been all 
made to drink into one Spirit. But now hath God set the 
members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased 
Him. And if they were all one member, where were the 
body ? But now are they many members, yet but one body. 
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular " 
(i Cor. xii.). 

Let us turn now to the first chapter of Colossians : " Who 
hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath trans 
lated us into the kingdom of His dear Son : who is the Image 
of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature : for by 
Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are 

1 See Tert, " V. Marc.," bk. ii. cap. xxvii. ; also " Treatise against 
Praxeas," xvi. 

2 " On the Divine Name," cap. vii. par. 4. 


in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or 
dominions, or principalities, or powers : all things were created 
by Him, and for Him : and He is before all things, and by 
Him all things consist. And He is the Head of the body, 
the Church : who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the 
dead ; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence." 

This gives us St. Paul s idea of Christ. He is humanity, 
like the Indian Purusha, the fashioned kosmos as distin 
guished from the unfashioned. Buddha is the " Lord of the 
three regions (heaven, earth, and hell)." The Pope s tiara 
is called Triregno. 


"The book of the generation of Jesus Christ" (Matt. i. i). 

Seydel has a chapter on the genealogies of Buddha and 
Christ. 1 In the " Lalita Vistara" and other biographies of 
Buddha are long lists of the ancestors, both of Queen Maya 
the mother, and King Suddhodana, who, like Joseph, had 
nothing at all to do with the paternity of the holy child. It 
is announced that a Buddha must be of royal and illustrious 
race, and so must his mother and his putative father points 
more appropriate, perhaps, to the son of a king than the son 
of a carpenter. 

Seydel cites from Weber a portion of the long genealogy 
of King Suddhodana, which has a considerable analogy with 
the Christian lists of Joseph s ancestors 

" King Mahasammata had a son named Roja, whose son 
was Vararoja, whose son was Kalyana, whose son was Vara- 
kalyana, whose son was Mandhatar, whose son was Vara- 
mandhatar, whose son was Uposatha, whose son was Kara, 
whose son was Upakara, whose son was Maghadeva." 2 

This list is from the " Dipawanso," and it is also given by 
Mr. Tumour, in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 
vol. vii. p. 925. It is needless to say the list is a very long 
one indeed Sihassero s descendants alone were eighty-two 
thousand, who all reigned supreme in Kapilavastu. 

1 " Evangelium von Jesu," p. 105. 2 Seydel, p. 106. 


"The last of these was Jayaseno. His son was Sehahanu, 
who was endowed with great personal splendour. Unto the 
said Sehahanu were born five sons Suddhodano, Dhotodano, 
Sukkodano, Ghutitodano, and Amitodano. Siddatho (Buddha), 
the Saviour of the World, was the son of Suddhodano." 

The history of the birth of Buddha is briefly this. When 
the legendary narratives open he is disclosed residing in the 
heaven Tusita, and exercising the functions of Purusha, or 
God viewed as a transcendental man. He rules the Triloka. 
He is called in the Tibetan Scripture the " Heavenly Father," 
the " Light of the World," the " God of Gods," the " King of 
Kings," the " Omniscient." But certain atheistical teachers 
being abroad in the world deluding mankind, it is deter 
mined that these shall be nullified by the avatara of a Buddha 
to earth his incarnation, in point of fact. 

Search is made for a suitable mother in whose womb the 
divine child may be born ; and in the city of Kapilavastu 
(Nagar Khas, N. Oude) is found a queen named Maya Devi, 
married to King Suddhodana. This lady is beautiful as a 
heavenly spirit. Her hair is glossy as the body of a black 
bee. Her voice is as musical as the kokila, or Indian cuckoo. 
She is a personification of chastity and virtue. 

Discussion takes place among the heavenly spirits as to 
the form to be assumed by a Buddha about to become in 
carnate, and the spirit of an ancient rishi, or holy man, 
announces that in the Rig Veda and the ancient books it is 
laid down that this form must be that of a white elephant. 
The reason of this will be patent to those who have read the 
previous section. Martanda, the solar god-man, the vice 
gerent of the universe, was symbolized as an elephant. 1 It is 
also a symbol of the Holy Spirit. 


" A Virgin shall conceive." 

Attempts have recently been made to prove that the 
mother of Buddha was not a virgin ; but this goes completely 
counter both to the northern and southern Scriptures. It is 
1 " Satapatha Brahmana," iii. 1-33. 


stated in the " Lalita Vistara " that the mother of a Buddha 
"must never have had a child." 1 In the southern Scriptures, 
as given by Mr. Tumour, it is announced that a womb in 
which a Buddha-elect has reposed is like the sanctuary of a 
chaitya (temple). On that account the mother of Buddha 
always dies in seven days, that no human being may again 
occupy it. 2 The name of the queen is borrowed from 
Brahminism. She is Maya Devi, one of the names of Durga, 
who is also Kanya, the Virgin of the Zodiac. The con 
ception was miraculous, and, of course, entirely independent 
of the good King Suddhodana. " By the consent of the 
king," says the " Lalita Vistara," " the queen was permitted 
to lead the life of a maiden, and not of a wife, for the space 
of thirty-two months." 

In the " Kabbalah " it is announced that the Heavenly Man 
comes to earth in the mercaba, or chariot. This chariot is, of 
course, the seven stars of the Great Bear, imaged in the old 
religions as the Seven Rishis, the Seven Amesha Spentas, the 
Seven Manushi or Mortal Buddhas, the Seven Angels of 
the Apocalypse. As each of these stars, as I shall show, 
represents a legion of beatified saints, the meaning of this is 
not far to seek. God, as the Heavenly Man, comes to earth 
through the mouthpiece of His saints and angels. These, in 
the Bible, are frequently convertible terms. 

Buddha, too, when he came to earth under the symbol of 
the white elephant, travelled, as we learn from the " Lalita 
Vistara," in the chariot of the gods. Millions of heavenly 
spirits, headed by Indra, the King of Heaven, accompanied 
him beautiful cloud-nymphs, and the four maharajas, the 
great kings who are believed to support the Kosmos at the 
four cardinal points. The chariot that brings down the little 
white elephant has four faces, as, of course, it images the 
Kosmos, and each corner is supported by one of the ma 

In the Armenian ritual this is the Collect for Good 
Friday: "Thou who, seated in majesty on the fiery chariot of 
four faces, ineffable Word of God, hast come down from 

1 Foucaux, p. 31. 2 Journ. Ben. As. Soc., vol. vii. p. 800. 


heaven for Thy creatures, and deigned to-day to sit at table 
with Thy disciples. Surprised with admiration, the seraphim 
and cherubim and principalities of the celestial cohorts 
gathered round, crying in their astonishment, * Holy, holy, 
holy, is the Lord of hosts. " * 

It is to be remarked that four stars of the Great Bear 
make a square, the chariot of the four faces. 

In the southern versions Buddha also descends as a 
white elephant. The queen, in a vision, is transported to 
Himavat, the fabled mountain of the sky, by the side of 
which grows the mighty tree, which is fifty miles high. Four 
great queens carry her in her couch to the shores of a 
delicious lake that sparkles under a mountain of silver. On 
the eastern side of this mountain was a cavern, and into 
this Queen Maya was carried. Whilst she was lying there, 
Buddha, in the form of a young white elephant, approached, 
carrying a pure white lotus in his trunk. He marched three 
times round the queen, and then entered her right side. 

On this narrative the Rev. Spence Hardy makes the 
following comments : " The resemblance between this legend 
and the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of the mother of 
our Lord cannot but be remarked. The opinion that she had 
ever borne other children was called heresy by Epiphanius 
and Jerome long before she had been exalted to the station 
of supremacy she now occupies amongst the saints in the 
estimation of the Romish and Greek Churches. They 
suppose that it is to this circumstance that reference is made 
in the prophetical account of the eastern gate of the temple : 
Then said the Lord unto me, This gate shall be shut. It 
shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it, because 
the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it. Therefore 
it shall be shut " (Ezek. xliv. 2). 2 

It is to be remarked in Buddhism that the mother of a 
Buddha always dies after giving birth to the divine child, as 
we have shown. 

1 Compare Migne, vol. viii. p. 1303, with Lapostilet, " Liturgie de la 
Messe Arme nienne," p. 28. 

2 Spence Hardy, " Manual of Buddhism," p. 145 j Bigandet, p. 35. 



The Double Annunciation Birth of Buddha under a Bending Tree- 
Similar Legends concerning Christ The Star of Buddha and the 
Star of Christ The Buddhist Simeon Name-giving not a Jewish 
Rite The Child Christ and the Sparrows King Herod and King 
Bimbisara " Thy Parents seek Thee." 


IT is recorded that when Queen Maya received the supernal 
Buddha in her womb, in the form of a beautiful white elephant, 
she said to her husband, " Like snow and silver, outshining 
the sun and the moon, a white elephant of six defences, with 
unrivalled trunk and feet, has entered my womb. Listen ; I 
saw the three regions (earth, heaven, and hell), with a great 
light shining in the darkness, and myriads of spirits sang my 
praises in the sky." 1 

A similar miraculous communication was made to King 
Suddhodana by the devas immediately after the miraculous 

" The spirits of the Pure Abode, flying in the air, showed 
half of their forms, and hymned King Suddhodana thus 

" Guerdoned with righteousness and gentle pity, 
Adored on earth and in the shining sky, 
The coming Buddha quits the glorious spheres, 
And hies to earth, to gentle Maya s womb. " 2 

Seydel has a chapter headed " Conception by the Holy 
Ghost." He cites several passages of the Buddhist legends ; 
amongst others the following from the " Lalita Vistara," de 
scribing the abnormal nature of the birth 

1 Foucaux, " Lalita Vistara," p. 63. 2 Foucaux, p. 62. 


" Thus, O monks, Buddha was born, and the right side of 
his mother was not pierced, was not wounded ; it remained 
as before." 1 

I may mention here that an objection has been taken to 
the parallelism so often traced of late between the lives of 
Buddha and Christ. The Rev. R. Collins, a gentleman who 
has lived in India, and contributed papers to the Indian 
Antiquary in illustration of its archaeology, has taken a recent 
writer to task. His position is that "the supposed miracu 
lous conception, the bringing down of Buddha from the 
Tusita heaven, the devas acknowledging his supremacy, the 
presentation in the temple when the images of Indra and 
other gods threw themselves at his feet, the temptation by 
Mara" which legends are embellished by the modern writer 
I have already quoted (Mons. Ernest de Bunsen), under such 
phrases as " Conceived by the Holy Ghost," " Born of the 
Virgin Maya," " Song of the heavenly host," " Presentation in 
the Temple and Temptation in the Wilderness" "none of these 
are found in the early Pali texts;" 2 and Mr. Collins lays 
down the further proposition that all these points were in 
serted in the northern Buddhist scriptures after the Malabar 
Christians had formed a sect in India, and made known the 
Christian Gospels. I shall examine these statements each in 
its proper place. 

By early Pali texts Mr. Collins means the two brief lives 
of Buddha given in Buddhaghosa s "Atthakatha." The one 
has been translated in part by Mr. Tumour, and the other by 
Professor Rhys Davids. 

Surely Mr. Collins cannot have read these lives. Mr. 
Tumour s biography distinctly tells us that Indra and the four 
maharajas and the heavenly host came and worshipped 
Buddha in the heaven Tusita, on the occasion of his approach 
ing "advent" to earth "for the purpose of redeeming the 
world." 3 

1 Foucaux, p. 97. 

The Rev. R. Collins, " Buddhism in Relation to Christianity/ p. 5. 
3 Tumour, " Pali Buddhistical Annals," Journ. Ben. As. Soc., vol. vii. 
PP- 798, 799- 


This is surely an " acknowledgment of supremacy " on the 
part of the devas ; and it is also as certainly stated that 
Buddha was " conceived in the womb of the great Maya," 2 
and that in a miraculous manner. "At the instant of this 
great personage being conceived in the womb of his mother, 
the whole of the ten thousand worlds (the kosmos) simulta 
neously quaked, and thirty-two miraculous indications were 
manifested. For the protection also of the Buddha-elect, as 
well as his mother, four spirits mounted guard with sword 

in hand." 1 

Whilst Buddha was in his mother s womb, it is stated also 
that the womb was transparent. 1 Dr. Rhys Davids has pointed 
out the interesting fact that certain mediaeval frescoes repre 
sent Christ as visible when in His mother s womb. 2 

In southern scriptures, as well as the northern ones, the 
conception is described as immaculate. 

"A Buddha-elect, with extended arms and erect in posture, 
comes forth from his mother s womb undefiled by the im 
purities of that womb, clean and unsoiled, refulgent as a gem 
deposited in a Kashmir shawl." 3 

Since I wrote the above, a book has appeared, entitled "The 
Light of Asia and the Light of the World." It takes up 
much the same line as Mr. Collins. The Saturday Review, in 
an able article condemning the narrowness of its author, 
Professor Kellogg, points out that in the Chinese books 
Buddha is said over and over again to have been incarnate 
of the " Holy Spirit." The critic says further that, since the 
publication of Seydel s book, it is impossible any longer to 
maintain that there has been no derivation from the Buddhist 

books. 4 

We have seen that the divine annunciation was to the 
father as well as the mother. It is a singular fact that, in the 
New Testament, there is also a double annunciation. In Luke 
(i. 28), the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to the Virgin 
Mary before her conception, and foretold to her the miraculous 

1 Tumour, Journ. Ben. As. Soc., vol. vii. p. 800. 

2 Birth Stories," p. 65. 3 Tumour, Journ. Ben. As. Soc., vol. vii. p. 801 . 
4 Saturday Review, February 6, 1886. 


birth of Christ. In Matthew (i. 19), an angel comes to Joseph 
after his nuptials, and announces that what is conceived in his 
wife is of the Holy Ghost. Dr. Giles remarks that it is a 
singular fact that Mary seems never to have told her husband 
a word about the miracle of which she was a witness, and 
that "Joseph found out the fact (of his wife s pregnancy) for 
himself." l 

This double annunciation in the case of both Buddha and 
Christ is most important. In the New Testament we get 
it from two distinct writers, whose accounts stultify one 
another. The Buddhist narrative, on the other hand, is har 
monious. If there has been derivation, as Mr. Collins asserts, 
the original narrative in this case seems plainly to have been 
the Eastern one. 


Amongst the "thirty-two signs" that indicate the mother 
of a Buddha, the fifth is that, like Mary, the mother of Jesus, 
she should be " on a journey " at the time of her expected 
labour. 2 It so happened, as we learn by the narrative given 
to us by Mr. Tumour, that when Queen Maya was ten months 
gone with child, a desire seized her to return to her father s 
city. King Suddhodana consented to this. The road from 
Kapilavastu to that city was made smooth and spread with 
foot-clothes. Arches of green plantains and the areca flower 
were set up, and the queen set out with much pomp in a 
" new gilt palanquin." 

Between the two cities was a lovely forest, which rivalled 
the nandana grove in the soft luxury of its blossoms and 
boughs. A nandana grove is at once a forest in paradise, 
and its counterpart on earth the garden of a monastery. 
There, amid the soft songs of the Indian cuckoo, the queen 
alighted, and sought the shade of a fine sala tree (Shorea 
robusta). Whilst there the pains of labour seized her, and 
the sala tree bent down its branches to overshadow her. At 
this moment the queen was transfigured. Her countenance 

1 Giles, " Hebrew and Christian Records," vol. ii. p. 175. 

2 Beal, " Romantic History," p. 32. 



shone like " glimmering lightning," and the halo of the Queen 
of Nandana was round her head. Then the infant Buddha 
came forth, and the great kings of the four cardinal points 
received him in a cloth or net. Two miraculous jets of water 
came from the sky to baptize him. Afar, from the lips of 
immortal spirits, was heard the song before cited 

" O Purusha, 

The equal to thee exists not here. 
Where will a superior be found ? " 

In a version of the " Gospel of the Infancy " in the library 
of Berne, a palm tree bends down in the same way to Mary. 2 
That some such legend was current in Palestine is proved, I 
think, from the account of Christ s birth in the Koran 

" So she conceived him, and she retired with him into a 
remote place. And the labour-pains came upon her at the 
trunk of a palm tree, and she said, Oh that I had died before 
this, and been forgotten out of mind ! And He called to her 
from beneath her, Grieve not, for thy Lord has placed a 
stream beneath thy feet ; and shake towards thee the trunk 
of the palm tree it will drop upon thee fresh dates fit to 
gather. " 3 

In the " Protevangelion " Mary and Joseph are described as 
journeying near a cave when the pains of labour seize her. 
She alights from her ass and enters it, and Joseph hastens 
to Bethlehem for a Jewish midwife. As he proceeds certain 
marvels are visible. The clouds are astonished, and the birds 
of the air stop in their flight. The dispersed sheep of some 
shepherds near cease to gambol, and the shepherds to beat 
them. The kids near a river are arrested with their mouths 
close to the water. All nature seems to pause for a mighty 
effort. 4 In the " Lalita Vistara" the birds of the air also 
pause in their flight when Buddha comes to the womb of 
Queen Maya. 5 And fires go out and rivers are suddenly 

1 Tumour, Journ. Ben. As. Soc., vol. vii. p. 801. 

2 Given with the other Apocryphal Gospels by Voltaire " CEuvres," 
vol. xl. 

3 E. H. Palmer, "The Qur an," xix. 22. 

4 Chap. xiii. 5 Foucaux, p. 53. 


arrested in their flow when his holy feet touch earth. 1 Joseph 
succeeds in finding a midwife. He brings her to Mary ; and 
a mighty light dazzles them. This supernatural light con 
tinues until the holy Child appears and begins to suck His 
mother s breast. 

"Then the shepherds came and made a fire, and the 
heavenly host appeared, praising and adoring the supreme 
God. And as the shepherds were engaged in the same 
employment, the cave at that time seemed like a glorious 
temple, because at that time the tongues of angels and men 
united to adore and magnify God on account of the birth of 
the Lord Christ." 

In the " Lalita Vistara," Queen Maya is also attended by 
a midwife when she retires under her tree. This woman is 
said to be the mother of the previous Buddha. 2 In the 
"Abinish Kramana " Indra himself, disguised as an old 
woman, attempts to act as midwife. 


Buddha, like Christ, had a star presiding at his birth 
Pushya, 3 the " King of Stars." Colebrooke, the best astro 
nomer of Oriental philologists, identifies this as the of 
Cancer. 4 

The " Protevangelion " announces that the " extraordinary 
large star shining among the stars of heaven and outshining 
them all," stood just above the cave where Mary lay with the 
young Child. 5 

Much has been written about the star that is supposed 
to herald the Christ, the Buddha, the Zarathustra, the 
Mahomet the seven great prophets of the Kalpa. One 
thing seems plain, and that is, that if there is such a star, 
it does not come at regular intervals. 

The " Vishnu Purana " gives a curious fact apropos of the 
avataras of Vishnu. It says that the star that heralds 

1 Foucaux, p. 100. 2 Page 86> 3 Foucaux, p. 61. 

4 " Essays," vol. ii. p. 334. 5 


these is a star of the asterisms that makes itself visible inside 
the square made by the four stars of the Great Bear. This 
in India is the vimana (chariot) of the gods, with its seven 
fiery steeds. 

Who were the "Wise Men" who came to greet the infant 
Christ? Much has been written on this subject. They 
were kings, according to some ; adepts in occult lore, accord 
ing to others, who have taken the description in its literal 
sense. Seydel identifies them with the heavenly kings- 
Brahma, Indra, etc., who figure in the " Lalita Vistara." 1 
think here he has overlooked the importance of the southern 
legend. When the infant Buddha is born, four Brahmins, 
the wise men of India, receive him in a golden net. Then the 
Maharajas, the four great kings of the kosmos, bear him ; for 
is he not Purusha, the kosmos imaged as a heavenly man ? 
"Fragrant flowers" and other offerings were made to him, 
says the narrative. 


The close parallelism between the incident of Simeon in 
the second chapter of Matthew, and the story of Asita in the 
Buddhist legendary life, has been often pointed out. Asita. 
is called Kaladevala in the Pali version, both words having 
for root the adjective " black." 

Asita dwells on Himavat, the holy mount of the Hindoos, 
as Simeon dwells on Mount Zion. The "Holy Ghost is 
upon " Simeon. That means that he has obtained the facul 
ties of the prophet by mystical training. He " comes by the 
Spirit " into the temple. 

Now let us turn to Asita. We will take the Pali version 
of his story. It is quite a mistake on the part of Mr. Collins 
to suppose that he is only to be met with in the " Lalita 
Vistara," or northern scripture. 

Asita is an ascetic, who has acquired the eight magical 
faculties, one of which is the faculty of visiting the Tawa- 
tinsa heavens. Happening to soar up into those pure regions 

! " Evangelium von Jesu," p. 135. 


one day, he is told by the host of devatas, or heavenly spirits, 
that a mighty Buddha is born in the world, " who will estab 
lish the supremacy of the Buddhist Dharma." The " Lalita 
Vistara " announces that, " looking abroad with his divine eye, 
and considering the kingdoms of India, he saw in the great 
city of Kapilavastu, in the palace of King Suddhodana, the 
child shining with the glitter of pure deeds, and adored by 
all the worlds." Afar through the skies the spirits of heaven 
in crowds recited the " hymn of Buddha." 1 

This is the description of Simeon in the " Gospel of the 
First Infancy," ii. 6 "At that time old Simeon saw Him 
(Christ) shining as a pillar of light when St. Mary the Virgin, 
His mother, carried Him in her arms, and was filled with 
the greatest pleasure at the sight. And the angels stood 
around Him adoring Him as a King ; guards stood around 

Asita was, as we have seen, a Brahmin adept, with the 
eight magical faculties of Patanjali s "Yogi Sastra." One of 
these, according to Colebrooke, is the power of levitation, or 
" rising like a sunbeam to the solar orb." 2 Taking advantage 
of this power, the old Brahmin, says the " Lalita Vistara," 
"after the manner of the King of the Swans, rose aloft in 
the sky, and proceeded to the great city of Kapilavastu." 3 
When he reached the palace of the king a throne was given 
to him, and a very gracious reception. 

"Raja," he said, "to thee a son has been born. Him I 
will see." 

"The Raja," says the Pali version, 4 "caused the infant, 
richly clad, to be brought, in order that he (the infant) might 
do homage to the Brahmin. The feet of the Buddha-elect, 
at that instant, performing an evolution, planted themselves 
on the top-knot of the Brahmin. There being no one greater 
to whom reverence is due than a Buddha-elect, the Brahmin, 
instantly rising from the throne on which he was seated, 
bowed down, with his clasped hands raised over his head, to 

1 Foucaux, " Lalita Vistara," p. 103. 

2 " Essays," vol. i. p. 250. 3 Foucaux, p. 104. 
4 Tumour, Journ. Ben. As. Soc., vol. vii. p. 802. 


the Buddha elect. The raja also, witnessing this miraculous 
result, bowed down to his own son." ] 

But the courtiers of the good King Suddhodana were 
plunged into the greatest consternation, for the ascetic burst 
suddenly into a flood of tears. 

" Is there any misfortune impending over the infant of our 
ruler ? " they said, anxiously. 

" Unto him there is no misfortune impending," said the 
Brahmin. "Without doubt he is destined to become the 

" Why, then, dost thou weep ? " 

" Because I am old and stricken in years, and shall not 
live to see the glory of his Buddhahood. Therefore do I 

The points of contact between Simeon and Asita are 
singularly close. Both are men of God, " full of the Holy 
Ghost." Both are brought " by the Spirit " into the presence 
of the holy Child, for the express purpose of foretelling his 
destiny as the anointed one. 


Five days after the birth of Buddha an important cere 
mony occurred. The Brahmins of the city met together, and 
the young boy received a name. This name was Siddhartha 
(He who succeeds in all things), 1 and it was chosen by means 
of occult knowledge. Eight days after the birth of Jesus 
the holy Child underwent the ceremony of name-giving and 
circumcision. This occurred in the temple at Jerusalem, 
according to the canonical Gospels ; but the " Gospel of the 
First Infancy" announces that the rite took place in the cave 
where He was born. He was called Jesus (Saviour), by com 
mand of the angel Gabriel. It also foreshadowed the fact 
that he would be the Saviour of the world. 

I think this narrative of the highest importance, because 
this ceremony of name-giving and casting the horoscope was 
not a Jewish rite. There is no mention of any such ceremony 

1 Tumour, Journ. Ben. As. Soc.^ vol. vii. p. 802. 


until we read of it in the narrative of St. Luke. This would 
indicate that the rite of name-giving came through the Thera- 
peuts from India. The dominant party were rigid sticklers 
for the letter of the Law. Even in the early Church, name- 
giving at baptism was not for a long time universal. 


" That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet." 

Christianity, like Buddhism, was a radical revolution, which 
it was sought afterwards to disguise in some of the vestments 
of the priestly tyranny that it had superseded. In both cases 
the bibliolatry of the common people had to be dealt with. 
Christianity took over the Bible of the Jews, but reversed its 
meaning. Buddhism discarded the vedas as holy books, but 
appealed to their higher spiritual teaching. Seydel points out 
likewise, from Lefmann and from Foucaux (" Lalita Vistara," 
p. 13, et seq.\ an attempt on the part of the Buddhist writers 
to find the career of Buddha foreshadowed in the Rig Veda 
and in the Brahmanas. He is Purusha, the heavenly man 
of the old Hindoo religion. His symbol is the elephantlike 
Martanda, the mystic egg. In consequence, certain heavenly 
spirits disguise themselves as Brahmins, and fly off to earth to 
discover in the holy books when an avatara of the god-man 
is due. After due research, it is pronounced that in twelve 
years the Buddha must enter the womb of a mother. The 
Brahmin books are consulted on other occasions. Buddhism 
tolerated Brahminism, and made use of its superstitions for 
the common people. Christianity also sought to conciliate 
the lower Judaism. I shall show by-and-by that each creed 
suffered much in consequence. 


Seydel has pointed out that the Buddhist scriptures, like 
the Christian ones, are written in prose, with hymns and lyrical 
passages inserted from time to time. 1 In the case of the 

1 " Evangelium von Jesu," p. 140. 


Buddhist writings this was a necessity. They were composed 
before the letters of the alphabet had been introduced into 
India, and metre helped the monks to preserve them in 
memory. By-and-by prose writings were introduced. Hence 
the mixture. 


When Buddha was twelve years old, he wandered into the 
royal gardens with a bow and arrows. His young companions 
were in other gardens near, enjoying themselves in the same 
way. Suddenly a flock of wild geese flew over, and Deva- 
datta, a cousin of Buddha s, let fly an arrow, which brought one 
of them to the ground. The young Buddha rested the 
wounded bird on his lap, and anointed the wound with oil and 

Devadatta claimed the bird, on the ground that he had 
shot it. Buddha answered thus : " If the bird were dead it 
Avould belong to Devadatta. It lives, and therefore it is 

This answer failed to satisfy the cousin, who again claimed 
the bird, alive or dead. 

But a shining deva from the heaven of Brahma came down 
to earth, and adjudicated between the cousins. 

" The bird belongs to Buddha," he said, " for his mission 
is to give life to the world. He who shoots and destroys is 
by his own act the loser and disperser." 1 

Devadatta is the Judas of Buddhism, and in the " Gospel 
of the Infancy " the youthful Judas also shares Christ s sports. 
He strikes Christ on one occasion, and, in return, the young 
boy casts out a devil from his assailant. On another occasion 
Jesus makes some sparrows of clay, and gives life to them a 
parable very like that of Buddha and the wounded bird. 2 


It is recorded that King Bimbisara, the King of Magadha, 
was fearful that some enemy would subvert his kingdom. In 

l _ " Romantic History," p. 73. 2 " First Infancy," i. 8. 


consequence he summoned his chief councillors, and said to 
them, " Make search and discover if there be any one capable 
of compassing my downfall, and if there be, take care that he 
be hindered in such an attempt." The councillors of the king 
sent forth two trusty messengers, who searched east and west 
in the raja s dominions. They then passed over the borders, 
and there met a man, who said to them 

"Away to the north there is a precipitous mountain of the 
Himalayan range. Underneath the wooded belt of that 
mountain is a tribe called the Sakyas. In that tribe is a 
youth newly born, the first begotten of his mother. On the 
day of his birth the Brahmins calculated his horoscope, and 
they fixed that he will either be a Chakravartin and rule the 
great empire of Jambudwipa, or else he will become a hermit 
and win the ten names of Tathagata, the Buddha." 

At once the two messengers returned to the king, and nar 
rated what they had heard. They counselled him to raise a 
large army and to march and destroy the child. 

King Bimbisara, unlike King Herod, here replied, " Speak 
not thus. If the youth become a Chakravarti Raja, he 
will wield a righteous sceptre, and we are bound to obey 
him. If he become the mighty Buddha, his love and com 
passion leading him to deliver and save all flesh, then we 
must become his disciples." 1 


Seydel has a chapter with the above heading, drawing 
attention to another point of resemblance between the lives of 
the young Buddha and the young Christ. On one occasion, 
each in early youth wandered away from his parents, and a 
search had to be instituted to recover him. Some of these 
points of contact are less striking than others, but I think all 
worthy of notice, because probably in every case there is a 
meaning of some importance not now always traceable. 

At the spring festival, like the modern rajahs in India, 
the king went with his court to take part in the ploughing. 

1 " Romantic History of Buddha," p. 104. 


The king ploughed with a plough ornamented with gold ; his 
nobles ploughed with a plough ornamented with silver ; but 
the little prince, who was taken to the show, wandered away 
and sat under a jambu tree (the rose-apple). Whilst there 
he was accosted by five rishis, or wise men. They, by the 
force of their magical vision, were able to detect his mighty 

The rishis began to repeat the following gathas : 

The first rishi said 

" In a world devoured by the fire of sin 
This lake hath appeared ; 
In him is the Law 
Which brings happiness to all flesh ! " 

The second rishi said 

" In the darkness of the world 
A light has appeared, 
To lighten all who are in ignorance ! " 

The third rishi said 

" Upon the tossing ocean 
A bark has approached, 
To save us from the perils of the deep ! " 

The fourth rishi said 

" To all who are bound in the chains of corruption 
This great Saviour has come ; 
In him is the Law 
That will deliver all ! " 

The fifth rishi said 

" In a world vexed by sickness and old age 
A great Physician has appeared, 
To provide a Law 
To put an end to both." 

Soon the king appeared searching for his son, when lo ! 
this marvel was visible. The shadows of all the other trees 
had turned, but the jambu tree still screened the young boy 
with its shade. 

The rishis having saluted the feet of Buddha, flew off 
through the air. 


The five rishis mystically are the Dhyani Buddhas, the 
first officers in the celestial hierarchy of the transcendental 
Buddha. They are present to bear witness to his mighty 
mission, and to the fact that it is distinct from that of his 
earthly father. 

" Wist ye not that I must be about My Father s business." 
These words of Christ have a similar import. The miracle 
of the light coming from the young boy, and not from the 
material sun, is the same lesson objectivized. 



The Homage of the Idols " Gold, and Frankincense, and Myrrh " The 
Disputation with the Doctors. 


IT is recorded in the " Lalita Vistara " that certain elders 
came and gave counsel to the king, saying, " It is meet, 
O king, that the infant should be now presented at the temple 
of the Gods." 

" It is proper that this should be done," said Suddhodana. 
" Let the streets and bazaars be splendidly adorned. Beat 
the drums, ring the bells. Let the lame, the deaf, the blind, 
the unsightly be removed from the line of procession, and 
everything else of evil augury. Assemble the neighbouring 
kings, the nobles, the merchants, the householders in gala 
dress. Let the Brahmins decorate the temples of the gods." 

The king s orders were promptly obeyed. In due time, 
accompanied by the loud blare of Indian instruments the 
conch shell, the flute, the tambourine, the "drum of joy," the 
young infant went in " great and pompous royal ceremony " 
to the temple. Elephants in crowds, and horses and chariots, 
citizens and soldiers, joined in the procession. Parasols were 
reared aloft, streamers waved, banners were unfurled. Vil 
lagers and nobles, the poor and the rich, pressed forward to 
the show. The streets and the squares were carpeted with 
flowers, and vases of sweet scent were lavishly flung about. 
Also, in harmony with the crude ideas of early art that a 
perfectly smooth plain was the highest ideal of beauty, rough 


places were made smooth and tortuous paths straightened. 
~Rude designs of these flags and drums, and " long horns and 
flageolets/ 1 are given in the earliest sculptures. The men 
have kummerbunds, and bare legs and chests ; the women 
are clothed chiefly in heavy arm and leg bangles. We can 
see the procession of good King Suddhodana in modern 

The car of the young Buddha was borne respectfully along 
by a procession of gods. Beautiul apsarases sounded seraphic 
notes ; flowers fell from heaven. 

When the procession reached the temple, the images of 
the gods Indra, Brahma, Narayana, Kouvera the God of 
wealth, Skanda, and the Four Maharajas stood up in their 
places and saluted the feet of the young infant, and wor 
shipped him as the transcendental Deity revealed on earth. 
A hymn which they sang on the occasion plainly shows 
this : 

" Tall Meru, King of Mountains, bows not down 
To puny grain of mustard seed. The sea, 
The yeasty palace of the Serpent King, 
Ne er stoops to greet the footprints of a cow : 
Shall Sun or Moon salute a glistening worm ? 
Or shall our Prince bend knee to gods of stone? 
Who worships pride, the man or God debased, 
Is like the worm, the seed, the cow-foot puddle : 
But like the sun, the sea, and Meru Mount, 
Is Swayambhu, the self-existent God ; 
And all who do him homage shall obtain 
Heaven and Nirvritti." 

When the gods had finished this hymn, their statues 
became animate, and the temple shone with all the glory of 
the heavenly host. 

A passage from the " First Gospel of the Infancy " may 
be cited here. When Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt, they 
reached a city where a mighty idol was worshipped. This 
idol made the following revelation to its priests : " In this city 
has arrived an unknown God, who is the true God, and none 
other but he is worthy of worship, because He is the Son of 

1 See Cunningham, " Bhilsa Topes," p. 30, also plate xiii. 


God." l The idol then tumbled off its pedestal, and was 
broken to fragments. 

It is difficult to conceive that these two narratives could 
have been written quite independently. Plainly they both 
convey the same meaning, namely, that the idols of a dead 
religion were greeting its successor. 


A short time after this, a Brahmin, named Purohita, respect 
fully suggested to the king that the young Buddha should 
receive the customary " gifts." So at sunrise he was carried 
in the arms of his aunt, Maha Prajapati Gautami, to the beau 
tiful Vimalaviyuha, the Stainless Garden. There, for seven 
days and nights, he was decked with rings and bracelets and 
diadems, with strings of pearls, with rich silks and golden 
tissues ; and young girls in thousands gazed at him in rapture. 
In China, God depicted as an Infant is as popular as Bala 
Krishna in India, or the Virgin and Child in Italy. But on 
this occasion, in the Stainless Garden, those who believed in 
the efficacy of trinkets and tawdry finery received a rebuke. 
Suddenly a majestic spirit made half of its divine form visible 
and sang in the clouds 

" Cast off this tawdry show ! 

The streams of earth wash down their shining gold ; 
Men gather it for their bedizenments, 
But in that far-off river, on whose banks 
The sweet rose-apple 2 clusters o er the pool, 
There is an ore that mocks all earthly sheen 

The gold of blameless deeds." 

Seydel, in a chapter headed " Gold, and Frankincense, and 
Myrrh," 3 draws attention to the similarity of the gift presenta 
tions in the Indian and Christian narratives. 

In the Dulva it is more than once announced that " myrrh, 
garlands, incense, etc.," were sacrificed to Buddha. 4 Gold 
pieces are placed on the Buddhist altar by the Chinese, and 

1 Ch. x. 2 Jambu. 3 " Evangelium von Jesu," p. 139. 

4 "Asiatic Researches," vol. xx. p. 312. 


the consecrated elements remain on the altar by a lacquered 
tabernacle. 1 


A little Brahmin was "initiated," girt with the holy 
thread, etc., at eight, and put under the tuition of a holy man. 
Buddha s like Rama s guru was named Visvamitra. But the 
youthful Buddha soon showed that his lore was far greater 
than that of his teacher. When Visvamitra proposed to 
teach him the alphabet, the young prince went off 

" In sounding a? pronounce it as in the sound of the word 

" In sounding <z, pronounce it as in the word indriya. 

" In sounding u, pronounce it as in the word * upagupta. " 

And so on through the whole Sanskrit alphabet. 2 

At his writing-lesson he displayed the same miraculous 
proficiency ; and no possible sum that his teachers or young 
companions could set him in arithmetic 3 could baffle him. 
In poetry, grammar, in music, in singing, he also proved 
without a rival. In "joining his hands in prayer," in the 
knowledge of the Rig Veda and the holy books, in rites, 
in magic, and in the mysteries of the yogi or adept his 
proficiency was proclaimed. 

In the " Gospel of the First Infancy," it is recorded that, 
when taken to his schoolmaster, Zacch^eus 

" The Lord Jesus explained to him the meaning of the 
letters Aleph and Beth. 

" 8. Also which were the straight figures of the letters, 
which were the oblique, and what letters had double figures ; 
which had points and which had none ; why one letter went 
before another ; and many other things He began to tell 
.him and explain, of which the master himself had never 
heard nor read in any book. 

"9. The Lord Jesus further said to the master, Take 
notice how I say to thee. Then He began clearly and dis- 

1 Langtes, " Rituel des Tartares Mantchous." 

2 " Rom. Hist.," p. 70. 3 " Lalita Vistara," pp. 121 and 149. 


tinctly to say, Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth ; and so on to 
the end of the alphabet. 

" 10. At this the master was so surprised that he said, 
I believe this boy was born before Noah. " 

We read, also, in the twenty-first chapter of the " First 
Gospel of the Infancy," the following amplification of the 
disputation with the doctors : 

" 5. Then a certain principal Rabbi asked Him, Hast 
Thou read books ? 

" 6. Jesus answered that He had both read books and 
the things which were contained in books. 

" 7. And He explained to them the books of the Law, and 
precepts, and statutes, and the mysteries which are contained 
in the books of the prophets, things which the mind of no 
creature could reach. 

" 8. Then said that Rabbi, I never yet have seen or 
heard of such knowledge. What do you think that boy 
will be ? 

" 9. Then a certain astronomer who was present asked 
the Lord Jesus whether He had studied astronomy ? 

" 10. The Lord Jesus replied, and told him the number of 
the spheres and heavenly bodies, as also their triangular, 
square, and sextile aspects ; their progressive and retrograde 
motions, their size, and several prognostications, and other 
things which the reason of man had never discovered. 

"n. There was also among them a philosopher, well- 
skilled in physic and natural philosophy, who asked the Lord 
Jesus whether He had studied physic. 

" 12. He replied, and explained to him physics and 

" 13. Also those things which were above and below the 
power of nature. 

" 14. The powers, also, of the body ; its humours and their 

"15. Also the number of the bones, veins, arteries, and 

" 1 6. The several constitutions of body, hot and dry, cold 
and moist, and the tendencies of them. 


" 17. How the soul operated on the body. 

" 1 8. What its various sensations and faculties were. 

" 19. The faculty of speaking, anger, desire. 

" 20. And, lastly, the manner of its composition and dis 
solution, and other things which the understanding of no 
creature had ever reached. 

"21. Then that philosopher worshipped the Lord Jesus, 
and said, O Lord Jesus, from henceforth I will be Thy 
disciple and servant. " 

Visvamitra in like manner worshipped Buddha by falling 
at his feet. 

I have now shown, I think, that Mr. Collins s assertions 
that the points of contact between the lives of Buddha and 
Christ are found only in the northern scriptures, is based on 

I must cite from his lecture another passage 

" There is no thought in the early Buddhism of which we 
read in the Palis texts, of a deliverance at the hand of a god ; 
but the man Gautama Buddha stands alone in his striving 
after the true emancipation from sorrow and ignorance. The 
accounts of his descending from heaven, and being conceived 
in the world of men when a preternatural light shone over 
the worlds, the blind received sight, the dumb sang, the lame 
danced, the sick were cured, together with all such embellish 
ments, are certainly added by later hands." 1 

Again I must ask, Has Mr. Collins read the Pali texts ? 
or their translations by Professor Rhys Davids or Mr. Tumour ? 
I will cite a passage from the " Birth Stories " 

"Now, at the moment when the future Buddha made 
himself incarnate in his mother s womb, the constituent 
elements of the ten thousand world-systems quaked and 
trembled, and were shaken violently. The Thirty-two Good 
Omens, also, were made manifest. In the ten thousand world- 
systems an immeasurable light appeared. The blind received 
their sight as if from very longing to behold his glory ; the 
deaf heard the noise ; the dumb spake one with another ; 
the crooked became straight ; the lame walked ; all prisoners 

" Buddhism in relation to Christianity," p. 6. 



were freed from their bonds and chains. In each hell the fire 
was extinguished." 1 

Surely this is a " deliverance." Buddha rules the Triloka 
(heaven, earth, and hell), and his avatara clears out the latter 
region of torment. Have there not been efforts in the English 
Church to prove that the dominions of Christ are far less 
extensive ? 

This brings us to the close of the earlier history, both 
of Christ and Buddha, and it is not astonishing that these 
histories should be similar, for they symbolize the same 
crucial phenomenon. The higher mystics, like St. Dionysius, 
St. John of the Cross, and Fenelon, have not, on the surface, 
been as frank as Origen upon the subject of the relative value 
of the historical and the mystical elements of Scripture ; but 
practically they have allowed the mystical portion to over 
shadow the historical. To assert, as some grave divines have 
done, that Origen s interpretation is exceptional and heretical 
is to ignore the Jewish genius at the epoch of Philo and 
Christ. The latter distinctly asserted that a parabolic teach 
ing of the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven was alone 
permissible to the outside public ; and St. Paul tells us that 
the narrative of Agar and Sarah is purely an allegorical 
exposition of the " bondage " of the lower life and the freedom 
of those " born after the spirit " (Gal. iv. 22-29). " M Y little 
children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be 
found in you" (Gal. iv. 19). 

The child Christ is in every human being. It is of royal 
line, for its father is the universal spirit. It comes to earth, 
and the branches of the tree of knowledge bend down to it, 
for the tree of knowledge in the " Kabbalah " represents the 
kosmos from the material side. Its life is sought by the 
kings and high priests of Beelzebub, and the thrones and 
kings of ghost-land greet it with spiritual incense and gold. 
It is by-and-by reborn of water and the Spirit, and sits under, 
or is nailed upon the tree of life, which, in the " Kabbalah," 
images the life of the Spirit. 

1 Rhys Davids, " Birth Stories," p. 64. 

( 35 


" Out of Egypt have I called My Son " " The Great City which spiri 
tually is called Sodom and Egypt "Two Mothers of the Perfected 
Mystic Two Births Why Mary and her Son are always together 
in the " Gospel of the Infancy." 

MODERN exegesis gives to the "Gospel of the Infancy" a 
much later date than our four Gospels. The chief reason for 
this is that the work is full of impossible and apparently 
aimless marvels. This would be a sufficient reason if it could 
be proved that these gospels were indigenous to Palestine ; 
but if the tales of wonder in them are probably derived from 
a foreign source, then such an argument has a modified force. 
It must be noticed, too, that when the " Gospel of the In 
fancy " was written, its author did not seem to be aware of 
the existence of our canonical gospels, at least, in their 
present form. The only other gospel that he takes cogni 
zance of is the " Gospel of Perfection " (" First Infancy," ch. 
viii. v. 13). That such a Gospel was once in the Church is 
proved by Epiphanius (" Hser." 26, para. 2). 

But a careful study of the " First Gospel of the Infancy " 
has brought to my mind another curious fact. It is a revela 
tion of the Christian mysteries, rounded and concise. The 
time has now come to state what the ancient mysteries really 
were. They shadowed forth the earth-life of the ideal man, 
under the symbolism of the sun s yearly journey. For the first 
six months he is in the " great city which spiritually is called 
Sodom and Egypt " (Rev. xi. 8). Then comes the turning- 


point of his career. At the date of the Indian festival of the 
Tree, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, he forsakes the lower 
life for the life of what the " Kabbalah " calls the " chosen 
one." He enters a second time into his mother s womb, and 
is born again, this time of the celestial virgin now dominating 
the sky. Hence, in the " Litany of the Blessed Virgin," she 
is still hymned as " Janua Cceli." 

Man is born of matter and spirit. The life of the Jina, 
the Jesus, the Buddha, begins at the last octave of the old 
year, the festival in India of the Black Durga, called also 
the Maya Devi, whose name, in consequence, the Buddhists 
adopted for the mother of Buddha. She dies in a week, 
because in a week the festival closes with her death. Her 
image is thrown into the . Ganges yearly in India. The 
burning of the yule-log, according to Wilson, is another pre 
sentation of this death. When Buddha abandons his palace 
for the life of the Bhiksu, or Beggar, his mother comes down 
from heaven to him once more ; but it is in reality a new 
mother Dharma the Holy Spirit. The Buddhist ascetics 
are called the sons of Dharma. 

In the great Bible of Christian mystics, the works of St. 
Dionysius, this great change is called the " God Birth ;" and 
the " Mother of Adoption," as he calls it, is symbolized by 
the baptismal font, which in his day must have been some 
thing like the tanks in Buddhist temples in China, for a 
triple immersion was part of the ceremony. In the benedic 
tion of fonts in the Catholic Church occurs this passage, " ad 
recreandos novos populos quos tibi fons baptismatis parturit, 
Spiritum adoptionis emitte." St. Dionysius tells us that the 
Perfected Mystic in the early Church was called the " Thera- 
peut." There were three stages of spiritual progress 

1. Purification. 

2. Illumination. 

3. Perfection. 

In the Middle Ages mysticism was profoundly studied. 
I give from Didron (Plate I.) an illumination from a missal. 
It is the planisphere of the Apocalypse. I add a little design 
to make its meaning more clear. 



From Didron. [Page 



The special symbol of Christ was Aries, in India a horse ; 
and here we see it passing along the ecliptic. 

The stages in the Apocalypse 

1. The white horse with a 
sword (Gemini). 

2. The black horse with the 
scales (Virgo, strictly, but the 
balance was very important in 
Kabbalistic mysticism). 

3. The white horse with the 
bow (Sagittarius). 

4. The pale horse of death 

(Pisces, in India, as I shall show, Fig. 5. 

Dharma Chakra, the Quoit of 

Death, see Fig. 5). The ancient mystics divided the plani 
sphere into two halves. I shall go more deeply into this 
subject by-and-by. The first, or lower life, is spiritually 
called Egypt in the Apocalypse. The second is the New 
Jerusalem. These in India figure as women, the black and 
the white Durga. 

In the "Kabbalah" these are Sophia and " the Whore." 
The husband of the latter is Samael, the Prince of Darkness. 
The pair in union were known as " the Beast." ] " There 
are two cities," says St. Augustine, " one of angels and good 
men, the other the city of the wicked." 2 

The four grades of spiritual progress with Essenes and 
Buddhists were represented by the four cardinal points. 
These are the four sphinxes of Ezekiel, formulated when the 
Bull dominated. The sphinx with the face of a man is 
Aquarius. The lion-faced sphinx is Leo. The ox-faced 
sphinx is Taurus. And I shall be able to show later on that 
the eagle Garuda in India was the early sign for the Balances 
of the Zodiac." 

It is the Jewish Sun of Righteousness with healing in its 

1 Ginsburg, " The Kabbalah," p. 28. 

2 " City of God," bk. xii. c. i. 


The ingenious symbolic turns and twists that have been 
given to these four cardinal points by the mystics of all 
nations would fill volumes. They represent the four spiritual 
grades of Buddhists, Essenes and Pythagoreans. The Adept 
in the " Golden Verses " is called " the Quaternary." They 
explain the mystical figure of Durga in India, with the four 
arms bearing the club, the shell, the sword or lingam, and the 
noose of death. They were represented by the four great 
officers of the Eleusinian Mysteries the Hieorophant, who was 
in reality En Soph, Brahma, God viewed a pure spirit ; the 
Torch-Bearer and Altar Minister, who had for symbols the 
sun and moon, and meant, of course, the fatherly and motherly 
principles; and the Herald, whose symbol was Mercury. 
These four characters, it is urged, have come down to us by 
route of the mysteries and miracle-plays in the modern 
pantomime. Harlequin, with his jod or wand, and Columbine 
from Columba, the dove or eagle, the old man, and the clown. 
In the cards, too, it has been contended we get them likewise. 
Cards were originally the tarot used for divination, and in 
them we have the ace or monod, the father and mother, and 
the herald or messenger. And each little army of thirteen 
months is again marshalled under one of the four mystic 
signs the red heart, the club or " tree " (Virgo) ; the black 
spade, which is like the thunderbolt of Indra. 

In the apparatus of the old magician, the four points run 
riot His four great instruments his wand, his crescent, his 
lamp, and his sword are nothing more than these four points. 
The Essene was bound by a terrible oath to keep the secrets 
of the "Cosmogony" and the " Tetragrammaton " two 
secrets, in fact, rolled into one. 

The Kabbalists said they could class mankind by gazing 
on their faces. The animal nature of those who were in the 
first or ox stage needs no interpreter. This animal stage 
terminates in India with the sign of the Twins, called in India 
by a homely word which signifies sexual love. 

" Out of Egypt have I called My Son ! " 
The meaning of this passage will now be more plain, and 



the " Gospel of the Infancy " appear less extravagant. The 
mother and the Child Jesus pass into the mystic " Egypt," and 
then the mother and the Christ-child pass into "Jerusalem." 
The gnostics drew a wide distinction between "Jesus" and 
" Christ." 

This is the story told every Sunday in the Christian ritual. 
The " Lesser Entrance " of the priest signifies Christ s descent 
into the flesh, " Egypt ; " the " Greater Entrance " typifies 
" Jerusalem," the new and higher life of the Therapeut. 

It is to be observed that in the " Gospel of the Infancy " 
the mother and the child are inseparable, and Christ always a 
child. There is a deep meaning in this. They heal the sick, 
they give sight to the blind, cure deafness, restore the im 

This is always done, likewise, through the instrumentality 
of the water that has washed the Child Christ. This is very 
Buddhistic. Mary herself is the water 
of life, and it is only by the birth of 
the Child Christ in each of us that 
we can hope to gain it. I give from 
Didron a design, which manifestly 
signifies much more than a mere 
mother and child on the material 
plane. Whether this means to re 
present or not the Child Christ in the 
transparent womb of the mother, 1 I 
cannot say. 

Neither Christ nor the early 
Christian writers held the modern 
jealousy of the " mysteries " of other 

Christ : " I will utter things which 
have been kept secret from the foun 
dation of the world." 2 

St. Paul : " Even the mystery Fig. 6. 

which hath been hid from ages and 

from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints." 3 
1 See ante, p. 16. 2 Matt. xiii. 35. 3 Col. i. 26. 


" The gospel which ye have heard, and which was preached 
to every creature under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a 
minister." 1 

Clement of Alexandria ; "And those who lived according 
to the Logos were really Christians, though they have been 
thought -to be atheists, as Socrates and Heraclitus were among 
the Greeks, and such as resembled them." 2 

St. Augustine : " For the thing itself which is now called 
the Christian religion really was known to the ancients, nor 
was wanting at any time from the beginning of the human 
race until the time that Christ came in the flesh, from whence 
the true religion which had previously existed began to be 
called Christian ; and this in our day is the Christian religion, 
not as having been wanting in former times, but as having in 
later times received this name." 

Justin Martyr: " If, then, we hold some opinions near of 
kin to the poets and philosophers in greatest repute amongst 
you, why are we unjustly hated ? ... By declaring the Logos 
the first-begotten of God, our Master, Jesus Christ, to be born 
of a virgin without any human mixture, and to be crucified 
and dead, and to have risen again and ascended into heaven, 
we say no more in this than what you say of those whom you 
style the Sons of Jove." 

Violent polemical writers like Tertullian are still more 
explicit : " The devil, whose business it is to pervert the truth, 
mimics the exact circumstances of the divine sacraments in 
the mysteries of idols. He himself baptizes some that is to 
say, his believers and followers. He promises forgiveness of 
sins from the sacred fount, and thus initiates them into the 
religion of Mithras. He marks on the forehead his own 
soldiers. He then celebrates the Oblation of Bread, and 
introduces an image of the resurrection, and before a sword 
wreathes a crown." 4 

1 Col. i. 23. 2 Clemen. Alex., " Strom." 

3 " Opera," vol. i. p. 12. 4 " Haer.," cap. xl. 


CHRIST has frequently been judged a non-existent person, and 
so has Buddha. The main reason for this is, that the lives of 
each have for symbolism the course of the sun during its 
yearly journey. For this, however, there were two reasons 
quite distinct from vulgar sun-worship. 

The first was, that all the mysteries consisted in the 
revealing of the infinite transcendental God, through the 
medium of the heavenly Man, whose symbol was the great 
dome of heaven. This was not God Himself, as Dupuis 
asserted, but what the " Kabbalah " calls the " Garment of God." 
Indian Upanishads draw the same distinction. And alon^ 


the zodiacal hem of this garment, it was figured that the 
" Chosen One " had to travel to become one with the heavenly 
Man. Hence the importance of the word Chakravartin in 
the Buddhist scriptures. The stages of spiritual, or in mystic 
parlance interior progress, were marked by the signs of the 
zodiac. A second sufficient reason was, that the grosser 
anthropomorphic forms of worship for the least spiritual of 
the community had, of course, to be regulated by the kalendar. 

Proof that both Christ and Buddha were historical per 
sonages comes most completely from examining their lives 
together. Much is like and much is unlike. At this point 
their histories diverge for some time, and I will turn to 
Buddha, condensing my " Popular Life of Buddha," to which 
all who wish for more ample details are referred. 

The soothsayers had pronounced that the infant would be 


one of two things a mighty earthly conqueror or a hermit. 
This prophecy plainly gave the king much concern. An 
earthly emperor, surrounded by elephants and horsemen, and 
spearmen and bowmen was a tangible object tangible as his 
rich palaces and towers and shining emeralds ; but the advan 
tages of the pious hermit were very unsubstantial indeed 

" Gaining, who knows what good, when all is lost 
Worth keeping." l 

So by-and-by it came into the mind of the king that he would 
consult more soothsayers, to see if more definite knowledge 
about the young man s future could be obtained. A number 
of pious hermits, gifted with the divine wisdom, were in con 
sequence got together. They pronounced the following : 

" The young boy will, without doubt, be either a king of 
kings or a great Buddha. If he is destined to be a great 
Buddha, * four presaging tokens will make his mission plain. 
He will see 

" i. An old man. 
" 2. A sick man. 
" 3. A corpse. 
" 4. A holy recluse. 

" If he fails to see these four presaging tokens of an 
avatara, he will be simply a Chakravartin." 

King Suddhodana was very much comforted by the last 
prediction of the soothsayers. He thought in his heart, It 
will be an easy thing to keep these four presaging tokens 
from the young prince. So he gave orders that three magni 
ficent palaces should at once be built the Palace of Spring, 
the Palace of Summer, the Palace of Winter. These palaces, 
as we learn from the " Lalita Vistara," were the most beautiful 
palaces ever conceived on earth. Indeed, they were quite 
able to cope in splendour with Vaijayanta, the immortal 
palace of Indra himself. Costly pavilions were built out in 
all directions, with ornamented porticoes and furbished doors. 
Turrets and pinnacles soared into the sky. Dainty little oval 
windows gave light to the rich apartments. Galleries, balus- 

1 "Light of Asia," p. 25. 


trades, and delicate trellis-work were abundant everywhere. 
A thousand bells tinkled on each roof. We seem to have the 
lacquered Chinese edifices of the pattern which architects 
believe to have flourished in early India. The gardens of 
these fine palaces rivalled the chess-board in the rectangular 
exactitude of their parterres and trellis-work bowers. Cool 
lakes nursed on their calm bosoms storks and cranes, wild 
geese and tame swans ; ducks, also, as parti-coloured as the 
white, red, and blue lotuses amongst which they swam. 
Bending to these lakes were bowery trees the champak, the 
acacia serisha, and the beautiful asoka-tree with its orange- 
scarlet flowers. Above rustled the mimosa, the fan-palm, 
and the feathery pippala, Buddha s tree. The air was heavy 
with the strong scent of the tuberose and the Arabian jasmine. 

It must be mentioned that strong ramparts were prepared 
round the palaces of Kapilavastu, to keep out all old men, 
sick men, and recluses, and, I must add, to keep in the prince. 

And a more potent safeguard still was designed. When 
the prince was old enough to marry, all the young girls of 
the kingdom were marshalled before him. To each he gave 
a rich bangle, or a brooch set in diamonds, or some expensive 
gewgaw. But the spies who had been set to watch him 
remarked that he gazed upon them all with listless eye. 
When the rich collection of jewels was quite exhausted, a 
maiden of exquisite beauty entered the apartment. Buddha 
gazed at her spell-bound, and felt confused because he had 
no gift to offer to her. The young girl, without any false 
modesty, went to him, and said abruptly 

"Young man, what offence have I given thee, that thou 
shouldst contemn me thus ? " 

" I do not contemn thee, young girl," said the prince, " but 
in truth thou hast come in rather late ! " And he sent for 
some other jewels of great value, which he presented to the 
young girl. 

" Is it proper, young man," she said, with a slight blush, 
" that I should receive such costly gifts from thee ? " 

" The ornaments are mine," he said, " therefore take them 
away ! " 


The young girl answered simply, " Not having any trinkets 
I could not deck myself, but now I will bear me bravely." 
The spies, cunning in furtive glances and blushes, reported 
everything to the king. 

The name of the young girl was Gopa. M. Foucaux con 
ceives that the name is identical with the "milkmaid," 
beloved by Krishna. 

The king was delighted that his son had fallen in love. 
He at once sent the Brahmin Purohita to Sakya Dandapani, 
the young girl s father, to demand her hand in marriage for 
his son. Dandapani s reply to the king was this : 

" The noble young man has lived all his life in the sloth 
and luxury of a palace, and my family never gives a daughter 
excepting to a man of courage and strength, one who can 
ply the bow and wield the two-handed sword." 

This answer made the king sad. Several other haughty 
Sakya families had previously said, " Our daughters refuse to 
come near a young milksop." 

When the king confided the source of his sadness to his 
son, the latter said, with a smile 

"If this is the cause of thy grief, O father, let me try con 
clusions with these valiant young Sakyas." 

" Canst thou wrestle ? Canst thou shoot with the bow ? " 

" Summon these young heroes, and \ve will see." 

Immense importance was attached by the Aryas to the 
festival of the Summer Solstice. The Greeks had their 
Olympia, when the whole population met together to witness 
the wrestling, the bow shooting, the chariot races. The victor 
in these was carried home in a pompous procession. In 
ancient India, a woman, famous for her beauty, was made the 
chief prize, and the marriage was called Swayafrivara (marriage 
by athletic competition). By this institution the manhood 
and courage of the State were powerfully stimulated. It 
must be borne in mind that a skilful use of the bow, the club, 
and the war-chariot meant independence to the community. 
On the other hand, an unskilful use subjected the whole tribe 
to be captured and detained as prisoners of war. They might 
be sacrificed to Rudra at the autumn festival. Or if they 


were lucky enough to escape this, they were slaves for the 
rest of their lives. As details of the memorable Swaya m vara 
where the beautiful Gopa was the prize are rather meagre, 
perhaps I may be permitted to supply some from the epics. 

A vast plain was selected on these occasions, and levelled 
and swept. Round this pavilions and lacquered palaces of 
the Chinese pattern were hastily erected. Their dainty spires 
and columns and roofs stood out against the blue sky, " like 
the snowy pinnacles of the mountain range Kailasa," says the 
Mahabharata. Carpets and sofas and thrones were spread 
in these for the kings and competing heroes. In front of each 
pavilion were heavy awnings on glittering poles. The power 
ful perfumes of India, the aloes, and the balm, could be 
scented from afar. The priests poured clarified butter into 
the holy fire. Mummers and dancers and singers performed 
miracle-plays, not differing much from the modern pantomime; 
religious disputants chopped logic. Each guest was expected 
to be lavish of his gifts. This made the poor man as merry 
as the rich one. 

Devadatta, a rival of Buddha, slaughters an elephant, and 
places it in the pathway of Buddha when he was proceeding 
to the tournament. Buddha, with unexpected strength hurls 
it to a distance to prevent it from infecting the neighbour 
hood. "The elephantine cloud," says M. Senart, "and the 
lightning were much to Indian myth-makers." 

A competition for a high-born princess includes learning, 
as well as the athleticism. Buddha, as I have already 
mentioned, first eclipses his neighbours in the former. Then 
come swimming, jumping, running, and none have a chance 
against him. Then comes the important issue of wrestling. 
This in India has been cultivated and honoured from time 
immemorial. Buddha first vanquishes Nanda and Ananda. 
Ananda is the brother of the unfriendly Devadatta, who next 
comes forward to avenge him : 

"Then the young Sakya Devadatta, puffed with the pride 
of race and the insolence of strength, came forth to the con 
test. He circled round with much rapidity and skill, and, 
watching his opportunity, he sprang upon the prince." 


But Buddha is merciful as well as strong. He causes the 
conceited young man to execute a somersault in the air, and 
then catches him before he can be hurt. Afterwards, all the 
young heroes in a body attack the prince, but with the same 

But the Aryas, like their descendants, the Anglo-Saxons 
of Crecy, were unrivalled bowmen. Archery was the real 
test of a hero in the old epics. Preparations now take place 
for that crucial issue. 

Ananda sets up a drum of iron. Devadatta sets up 
another at double the distance. Sundarananda sets up a 
third drum at a distance of six krosas. Dandapani sets up a 
drum at a greater distance still. By Dandapani s drum are 
seven tall palm-trees, and beyond this a figure of a wild beast 

in iron. 

Ananda lets fly a shaft. It pierces the drum which he 
had set up. Beyond that distance he cannot shoot. Deva 
datta pierces his drum. Sundarananda pierces the. drum set 
up at six krosas. Dandapani smites his drum. But beyond 
his selected distance each archer is powerless. 

And now it is the turn of Buddha to shoot, but no bow is 
strong enough to bear the strength of his arm. One after 
another they break in the stringing. At last it is recollected 
that, in one of the shrines, there is the bow of his grandfather, 
Simhahanu (Lion Jaw), a weapon so mighty that no warrior 
can even lift it. Attendants are sent off to fetch it. The 
strongest Sakyas attempt to string it, but all in vain. 

Then the prince himself takes up the bow of the mighty 
Lion Jaw. With ease he strings it, and the sound of its 
stringing re-echoes through the wide city of Kapilavastu. 
Amid immense excitement he adjusts an arrow and prepares 
to shoot. His shaft transfixes the first drum, the second 
drum, the third drum, the fourth drum, and then tearing 
swiftly through the seven trees and the wild beast of iron, 
buries itself like the lightning in the ground. 

Other competitions take place. The prince shows his 
superiority in riding the horse, riding the elephant with an 
iron goad ; in poetry, painting, music, dancing, and even 


jocularity, in the art of the fist " and in " kicking." He also 
shines in his knowledge of occult mysteries, in prophecy," in 
the explanation of dreams, in " magic," in "joining his hands 
in prayer." 

After this manner Buddha won the beautiful Gopa. She 
is called Yasodhara in the Southern narrative. 

Perhaps, at this time, the good King Suddhodana was 
more happy than even the prince in the ecstasy of his honey 
moon. He had found for that prince the most beautiful wife 
in the world. He had built him palaces that were the talk 
of the whole of Hindostan. No Indian maharaja before had 
had such beautiful palaces, such lovely wives and handmaidens, 
such dancing girls, singers, jewels, luxuries. In his bowers of 
camphor cinnamon, amid the enchanting perfumes of the 
tuberose and the santal-tree, his life must surely be one long 
bliss, a dream that has no awakening. 

But suddenly this exultation was dashed with a note of 
woe. The king dreamt that he saw his son in the russet cowl 
of the beggar-hermit Awaking in a fright, he called an 

" Is my son in the palace ? " he asked abruptly 

" He is, O king." 

The dream frightened the king very much, and he ordered 
five hundred guards to be placed at every corner of the walls 
of the Palace of Summer. And the soothsayers having 
announced that a Buddha, if he escapes at all, always escapes 
by the Gate of Benediction, folding doors of immense size 
were here erected. The sound of their swing on their hinges 
resounded to a distance of half a yogana (three and a half 
miles). Five hundred men were required to stir either gate. 
These precautions completely quieted the king s mind, until 
one day he received a terrible piece of news. His son had 
seen the first of the four presaging tokens. He had seen an 
Old Man. 

This is how the matter came about. The king had pre 
pared a garden even more beautiful than the garden of the 
Palace of Summer. A soothsayer had told him that if he 
could succeed in showing the prince this garden, the prince 


would be content to remain in it with his wives for ever. No 
task seemed easier than this, so it was arranged that on a 
certain day the prince should be driven thither in his chariot. 
But, of course, immense precautions had to be taken to keep 
all old men, and sick men, and corpses from his sight. Quite 
an army of soldiers was told off for this duty, and the city was 
decked with flags. The path of the prince was strewn with 
flowers and scents, and adorned with vases of the rich kadali 
plant. Above were costly hangings and garlands, and pagodas 
of bells. 

But, lo and behold ! as the prince was driving along, plump 
under the wheels of his chariot, and before the very noses of 
the silken nobles and the warriors with javelins and shields, 
he saw an unusual sight. This was an old man, very decrepit 
and very broken. The veins and nerves of his body were 
swollen and prominent ; his teeth chattered ; he was wrinkled, 
bald, and his few remaining hairs were of dazzling whiteness ; 
he was bent very nearly double, and tottered feebly along, 
supported by a stick. 

" What is this, O coachman ? " said the prince. " A man 
with his blood all dried up, and his muscles glued to his 
body! His head is white; his teeth knock together; he 
is scarcely able to move along, even with the aid of that 
stick ! " 

" Prince," said the coachman, " this is Old Age. This 
man s senses are dulled ; suffering has destroyed his spirit ; 
he is contemned by his neighbours. Unable to help himself, 
he has been abandoned in this forest." 

" Is this a peculiarity of his family ? " demanded the prince, 
" or is it the law of the world ? Tell me quickly." 

" Prince," said the coachman, " it is neither a law of his 
family, nor a law of the kingdom. In every being youth is 
conquered by age. Your own father and mother and all your 
relations will end in old age. There is no other issue to 

"Then youth is blind and ignorant," said the prince, 
"and sees not the future. If this body is to be the abode 
of old age, what have I to do with pleasure and its intoxi- 


cations ? Turn round the chariot, and drive me back to the 
palace ! " 

Consternation was in the minds of all the courtiers at this 
untoward occurrence ; but the odd circumstance of all was 
that no one was ever able to bring to condign punishment the 
miserable author of the mischief. The old man could never 
be found. 

King Suddhodana was at first quite beside himself with 
tribulation. Soldiers were summoned from the distant pro 
vinces, and a cordon of detachments thrown out to a distance 
of four miles in each direction, to keep the other presaging 
tokens from the prince. 1 By-and-by the king became a little 
more quieted. A ridiculous accident had interfered with his 
plans : " If my son could see the Garden of Happiness he 
never would become a hermit." The king determined that 
another attempt should be made. But this time the pre 
cautions were doubled. 

On the first occasion the prince left the Palace of Summer 
by the eastern gate. The second expedition was through the 
southern gate. 

But another untoward event occurred. As the prince was 
driving along in his chariot, suddenly he saw close to him a 
man emaciated, ill, loathsome, burning with fever. Com- 
panionless, uncared for, he tottered along, breathing with 
extreme difficulty. 

"Coachman," said the prince, "what is this man, livid 
and loathsome in body, whose senses are dulled, and whose 
limbs are withered ? His stomach is oppressing him ; he 
is covered with filth. Scarcely can he draw the breath of 
life ! " 

" Prince," said the coachman, " this is Sickness. This poor 
man is attacked with a grievous malady. Strength and com 
fort have shunned him. He is friendless, hopeless, without 
a country, without an asylum. The fear of death is before 
his eyes." 

"If the health of man," said Buddha, "is but the sport of 
a dream, and the fear of coming evils can put on so loathsome 

1 Spence Hardy, " Manual of Buddhism," p. 155, et seq. 



a shape, how can the wise man, who has seen what life really 
means, indulge in its vain delights? Turn back, coachman, 
and drive me to the palace ! " 

The angry king, when he heard what had occurred, gave 
orders that the sick man should be seized and punished, but 
although a price was placed on his head, and he was searched 
for far and wide, he could never be caught. A clue to this 
is furnished by a passage in the " Lalita Vistara." The sick 
man was in reality one of the Spirits of the Pure Abode, 
masquerading in sores and spasms. These Spirits of the Pure 
Abode are also called the Buddhas of the past, in many 


And it would almost seem as if some influence, malefic or 
otherwise, was stirring the good King Suddhodana. Un 
moved by failure, he urged the prince to a third effort. The 
chariot this time was to set out by the western gate. Greater 
precautions than ever were adopted. The chain of guards 
was posted at least twelve miles off from the Palace of 
Summer. But the Buddhas of the Ten Horizons again 
arrested the prince. His chariot was suddenly crossed by a 
phantom funeral procession. A phantom corpse, smeared 
with the orthodox mud, and spread with a sheet, was carried 
on a bier. Phantom women wailed, and phantom musicians 
played on the drum and the Indian flute. No doubt also, 
phantom Brahmins chanted hymns to Jatavedas, to bear 
away the immortal part of the dead man to the home of 
the Pitris. 

What is this ? " said the prince. " Why do these women 
beat their breasts and tear their hair ? Why do these good 
folks cover their heads with the dust of the ground. ^And 
that strange form upon its litter, wherefore is it so rigid ? " 

" Prince," said the charioteer, " this is Death ! Yon form, 
pale and stiffened, can never again walk and move. Its 
owner has gone to the unknown caverns of Yama. His 
father, his mother, his child, his wife cry out to him, but he 
cannot hear." 

Buddha was sad. 

" Woe be to youth, which is the sport of age ! Woe be to 


health, which is the sport of many maladies ! Woe be to life, 
which is as a breath ! Woe be to the idle pleasures which 
debauch humanity! But for the five aggregations there 
would be no age, sickness, nor death. Go back to the city. 
I must compass the deliverance." 

A fourth time the prince was urged by his father to visit 
the Garden of Happiness. The chain of guards this time was 
sixteen miles away. The exit was by the northern gate. 
But suddenly a calm man of gentle mien, wearing an ochre- 
red cowl, was seen in the roadway. 

" Who is this ? " said the prince, " rapt, gentle, peaceful in 
mien ? He looks as if his mind were far away elsewhere. 
He carries a bowl in his hand." 

" Prince, this is the New Life," said the charioteer. " That 
man is of those whose thoughts are fixed on the eternal 
Brahma [Brahmacharin]. He seeks the divine voice. He 
seeks the divine vision. He carries the alms-bowl of the holy 
beggar [bhikshu]. His mind is calm, because the gross lures 
of the lower life can vex it no more." 

" Such a life I covet," said the prince. " The lusts of man 
are like the sea-water they mock man s thirst instead of 
quenching it. I will seek the divine vision, and give im 
mortality to man ! " 

King Suddhodana was beside himself. He placed five 
hundred corseleted Sakyas at every gate of the Palace of 
Summer. Chains of sentries were round the walls, which 
were raised and strengthened. A phalanx of loving wives, 
armed with javelins, was posted round the prince s bed to 
" narrowly watch " him. The king ordered all the allurements 
of sense to be constantly presented to the prince. 

" Let the women of the zenana cease not for an instant 
their concerts and mirth and sports. Let them shine in silks 
and sparkle in diamonds and emeralds." 

Maha Prajapati, the aunt who since Queen Maya s death 
has acted as foster-mother, has charge of these pretty young 
women, and she incites them to encircle the prince in a " cap-e 
of gold." 

The allegory is in reality a great battle between two camps 


the denizens of the Kamaloka, or the Domains of Appetite, 
and the denizens of the Brahmaloka, the Domains of Pure 
Spirit. The latter are unseen, but not unfelt. 

For one day, when the prince reclined on a silken couch, 
listening to the sweet crooning of four or five brown-skinned, 
large-eyed Indian girls, his eyes suddenly assumed a dazed 
and absorbed look, and the rich hangings and garlands and 
intricate trellis-work of the golden apartment were still 
present, but dim to his mind. And music and voices, more 
sweet than he had ever listened to, seemed faintly to reach 
him. I will write down some of the verses he heard, as they 
contain the mystic inner teaching of Buddhism. 

" Mighty prop of humanity 
March in the pathway of the Rishis of old, 
Go forth from this city ! 
Upon this desolate earth, 

When thou hast acquired the priceless knowledge of the Jinas, 
When thou hast become a perfect Buddha, 

Give to all flesh the baptism (river) of the Kingdom of Righteousness. 
Thou who once didst sacrifice thy feet, thy hands, thy precious body, 

and all thy riches for the world, 
Thou whose life is pure, save flesh from its miseries ! 
In the presence of reviling be patient, O conqueror of self ! 
Lord of those who possess two feet, go forth on thy mission ! 
Conquer the evil one and his army." 

Thus run some more of these gathas : 

" Light of the world ! [lamp du monde Foucaux], 
In former kalpas this vow was made by thee : 
For the worlds that are a prey to death and sickness I will be a 

refuge ! 
Lion of men, master of those that walk on two feet, the time for thy 

mission has come ! 
Under the sacred Bo-tree acquire immortal dignity, and give Amnta 

(immortality) to all ! 

When thou wert a king (in a former existence), and a subject inso 
lently said to thee : These lands and cities, give them to me ! 
Thou wert rejoiced and not troubled. 
Once when thou wert a virtuous Rishi, and a cruel king in anger hacked 

off thy limbs, in thy death agony milk flowed from thy feet and thy 

When thou didst dwell on a mountain as the Rishi Syama, a king 

having transfixed thee with poisoned arrows, didst thou not forgive 

this king ? 


When thou wert the king of antelopes, didst thou not save thine enemy 

the hunter from a torrent ? 
When thou wert an elephant and a hunter pierced thee, thou forgavest 

him, and didst reward him with thy beautiful tusks ! 
Once when thou wert a she-bear thou didst save a man from a torrent 

swollen with snow. Thou didst feed him on roots and fruit until 

he grew strong ; 
And when he went away and brought back men to kill thee, thou 

forgavest him ! 

Once when thou wert a white horse, 1 
In pity for the suffering of man, 

Thou didst fly across heaven to the region of the evil demons, 
To secure the happiness of mankind. 
Persecutions without end, 
Revilings and many prisons, 
Death and murder, 

These hast thou suffered with love and patience, 
Forgiving thine executioners. 
Kingless, men seek thee for a king ! 

Stablish them in the way of Brahma and of the ten virtues, 
That when they pass away from amongst their fellow-men, they may 

all go to the abode of Brahma. 
In times past, having seen men fallen into evil ways, and vexed by age, 

sickness, and many griefs, thou didst make them understand which 

was the straight way from this world of destruction ! 
Conqueror of the darkness, thou hast done priceless service to the 

worlds ! 

To creatures of all sorts thou madest many offerings. 
Thou gavest thy wife, thy son, thy daughter, thy body, thy kingdom, 

thy life I 

Strong king ! thou didst prefer the glory of blameless deeds. 
Thou who art Krishna, Nimindara, Nimi, Brahmadatta, Dharmachinti, 

etc., having pondered upon the aim of life, thou hast abandoned to 

mortals things difficult to abandon. 
Rishi of kings, of body like the moon-god (Chandra), thy march is over 

the horizon and the dust. 

King of Kasi (Benares), thou proclaimest the peace of heaven. 
Long hast thou seen that the life of man is like the sands of the 

In pursuit of the spiritual knowledge (Bodhi), O first of the pure ! thou 

hast made innumerable offerings to the Buddhas : 
To Amoghadarsi, the flowers of the Sala-tree ; 
To Vairochana, a gentle thought ; 
To Chandana, a torch of kusa-grass ; 

1 Yearly the sun-god as the zodiacal horse (Aries) was supposed by the 
Vedic Aryans to die to save all flesh. Hence the horse-sacrifice. 


To Remi thou didst fling a handful of gold-dust ! 

Didst thou not encourage Dharmesvara, when he was teaching the law, 
by saying, Well ! 

Upon beholding Sarmantadarsi thou didst cry, Adoration ! Adora 
tion ! 

Thou gavest the garb of the Muni to Nagadatta ! 

To Sakya Muni 1 thou gavest a handful of suvarnas [pieces of gold]." 

" By these gathas the prince is exhorted," says the narra 
tive. And whilst the Jinas sing, beautiful women, with flowers 
and perfumes, and jewels and rich dresses, try to incite him 
to mortal love. Again the music of the immortals breaks 
through their songs : 

" Guide of the world ! think quickly of thy resolve to appear in it ; 
Make no delay ! 
In the old times a precious treasure, gold, silver, and ornaments, were 

abandoned by thee. 

To Bhaichadyaraja thou didst offer a precious parasol ; 
Thou gavest thy kingdom to Tagarasikhin ; 
To Mahapradipa thou didst offer thine own self ; 
To Dipankara a blue lotus ; 

Remember the Buddhas of the past, their teachings and thy sacrifices. 
Contemn not poor mortals without a guide. 
When thou didst see Dipankara thou didst acquire the Great Patience 

and the five transcendental sacrifices ! 
Then, after innumerable kalpas, in all parts of the world, having 

taken delight in making offerings inconceivably precious to all 

these Buddhas, 
The kalpas have rolled away, 
The Buddhas have gone to Nirvana, 
And all their bodies, that once belonged to thee, and even their names 

Where are they ? 

It is the work of the Law of Righteousness to put an end to the aggre 
gations of matter. 

That which has been created is not durable. 
Earthly empire, earthly desire, earthly riches are as a dream. 
In the terminable kalpas of the world, like a fire that burns with a 

fearful light, sickness, age, and death draw near with their tremors. 
The Law of Righteousness alone can put an end to substance. What 

is composite is not durable. 
Look at the unhappy creatures of earth ; 
Go forth into the world ! " 

1 Much of this is plainly esoteric Buddhism. The inspirer of prophets, 
and not the prophet himself, is addressed. 


But the king was on the other side. 

It is recorded that he offered to resign his royal umbrella 
in favour of his son. His urgent entreaty that the prince 
should abandon all thoughts of a religious life was answered 
thus : 

"Sire, I desire four gifts. Grant me these, and I will 
remain in the Palace of Summer." 

What are they ? " said King Suddodhana. 

" Grant that age may never seize me. Grant that I may 
retain the bright hues of youth. Grant that sickness may 
have no power over me. Grant that my life may be without 
end." 1 

This gives us the very essence of the apologue. Mara, 
the tempter, describes the story in a sentence : 

" This is a son of King Suddodhana, who has left his 
kingdom to obtain deathless life [amrita]." 2 

About this time Gopa had a strange dream. She beheld 
the visible world with its mountains upheaved and its forests 
overturned. The sun was darkened, the moon fell from 
heaven. Her own diadem had fallen off her head, and all 
her beautiful pearl necklaces and gold chains were broken. 
Her poor hands and feet were cut off; and the diadem and 
ornaments of her husband were also scattered in confusion 
upon the bed where they were both lying. In the darkness 
of night lurid flames came forth from the city, and the gilded 
bars that had been recently put up to detain the prince were 
snapped. Afar the great ocean was boiling with a huge 
turmoil, and Mount Meru shook to its very foundations. 

She consulted her husband about this dream, and he gave 
her the rather obvious interpretation that this dismemberment 
of her mortal body, and this passing away of the visible 
universe and its splendours, was of good, and not bad augury- 
She was becoming detached from the seen, the organic ; her 
inner vision was opening. She had seen the splendid handle 
of Buddha s parasol broken. This meant that in a short time 
he was to become the " unique parasol of the world." 

But to bring about this result more quickly, the Spirits of 
1 " Lalita Vistara," p. 192. 2 Ibid., p. 287. 


the Pure Abode have conceived a new project. The beautiful 
women of the zenana are the main seductions of Mara, the 
tempter, whom philologists prove to be closely connected with 
Kama, the god of love. The Spirits of the Pure Abode deter 
mine that the prince shall see these women in a new light. 
By a subtle influence they induce him to visit the apartments 
of the women at the moment that they, the Jinas, have put all 
these women into a sound sleep. 

Everything is in disorder the clothes of the women, their 
hair, their trinkets. Some are lolling ungracefully on couches, 
some have hideous faces, some cough, some laugh sillily in 
their dreams, some rave. Also deformities and blemishes 
that female art had been careful to conceal are now made 
prominent by the superior magic of the spirits. This one has 
a discoloured neck, this one an ill-formed leg, this one a 
clumsy fat arm. Smiles have become grins, and fascinations 
a naked hideousness. Sprawling on couches in ungainly 
attitudes, all lie amidst their tawdry finery, their silent tam 
bourines and lutes. 

" Of a verity I am in a graveyard ! " said the prince, in 
great disgust. 

And now comes an incident in his life which is of the 
highest importance. He has determined to leave the palace 
altogether. "Then Buddha uncrossed his legs, and turning 
his eyes towards the eastern horizon, he put aside the precious 
trellis-work, and repaired to the roof of the palace. Then 
joining the ten fingers of his hands, he thought of all the 
Buddhas and rendered homage to all the Buddhas, and, 
looking across the skies, he saw the Master of all the gods, he 
of the ten hundred eyes" (Dasasata Nayana). Plainly he 
prayed to Indra. The Romantic Life also retains this 
incident, but it omits Indra, and makes Buddha pray only to 
all the Buddhas. 

At the moment that Buddha joined his hands in homage 
towards the eastern horizon, the star Pushya, which had pre 
sided at his birth, was rising. The prince on seeing it said to 

" The benediction that is on me has attained its perfection 


this very night Give me at once the king of horses covered 
with jewels ! " 

" Guide of men ! " said the poor charioteer, " thou knowest 
the hour and the commands of the king. The great gates are 

Buddha persisted, and mounted his good horse Kantaka, 
The gates were opened by the heavenly spirits. And through 
them he passed out of the debasing palace with the seven 
moats. It was the change to the higher life. He became 
a yogi. 

The Buddhist movement was the revolt of the higher 
Brahminism against the lower. It was led by one of the most 
searching reformers that ever appeared upon the page of 
history. He conceived that the only remedy lay in awakening 
the spiritual life of the individual. The bloody sacrifice, 
caste, the costly tank pilgrimages, must be swept completely 

This is proved by a very valuable Sutra, the " Sutta 
Nipata," one of the most ancient books of Ceylon. 

It records that when the great Muni was at Sravasti 
(Sahet Mahet), certain old Brahmins came to listen to his 
teaching. They asked him if the Brahmin religion (Brahmana 
Dharma) was the same as in ancient days. Buddha replied 
that, in olden time, the Brahmana Dharma was completely 
different. It was this Dharma that he proposed to restore 
in its original purity. The points of difference that he detailed 
were these 

i. The ancient Brahmanas were simple ascetics (isayo), 
who had abandoned the "objects of the five senses." 

2. They ate contentedly the food that was placed at their 
door. They had no cattle, or gold, or corn. The gold and 
corn of holy dreaming alone was theirs. 

3. They never married a woman of another caste, or 
bought wives. The most rigid continence was theirs. 1 

4. They made sacrifices of rice, butter, etc., and never 

1 Fausboll Sutta Nipata," p. 49, ver. 10. It was not clear whether 
Buddha means that marriage was quite unknown to them. The verses 
are contradictory. 


killed the cows, the best friends of man, the givers of 

5. But the kings of the earth by-and-by grew powerful, 
and had palaces and chariots and jewelled women. 

6. Then the Brahmanas grew covetous of these beautiful 
women and this vast wealth, and schemed to gain both. 
They instituted costly sacrifices, the horse sacrifice (assa- 
medha), the man sacrifice (purisa-medha), and other rites. 
Through these they obtained costly offerings gold, cows, 
beds, garments, jewelled women, bright carpets, palaces, grain, 
chariots drawn by fine steeds. 

7. " Hundreds of thousands of cows " were slaughtered 
at these sacrifices " cows that like goats do not hurt any one 
with their feet or with either of their horns tender cows, 
yielding vessels of milk. 

" Seizing them by the horns, the king caused them to be 
slain with a weapon." 

The true Dharma being lost, the world plunged into 
sensuality, caste disputes, blood. That lost Dharma it is the 
mission of Buddha to hold up once more " as an oil lamp in 
the dark, that those who have eyes may see." ] 

1 now come to another piece of evidence. The " Tevigga 
Sutta," or " Sutra," plainly belongs to the " Little Vehicle," 
and shows that in the view of its disciples Buddha proclaimed 
the existence of an intelligent eternal God. 

When the great Tathagata was dwelling at Manasakata in 
the mango grove, some Brahmins, learned in the three Vedas, 
come to consult him on the question of union with the eternal 
Brahma. They ask if they are in the right pathway towards 
that union. Buddha replies at great length. He suggests an 
ideal case. He supposes that a man has fallen in love with 
the " most beautiful woman in the land." Day and night he 
dreams of her, but has never seen her. He does not know 
whether she is tall or short, of Brahmin or Sudra caste, of 
dark or fair complexion ; he does not even know her name. 
The Brahmins are asked if the talk of that man about that 
woman be wise or foolish. They confess that it is " foolish 
1 " Sutta Nipata," p. 52. 


talk." Buddha then applies the same train of reasoning to 
them. The Brahmins versed in the three Vedas are made to 
confess that they have never seen Brahma, that they do not 
know whether he is tall or short, or anything about him, and 
that all their talk about union with him is also foolish talk. 
They are mounting a crooked staircase, and do not know 
whether it leads to a mansion or a precipice. They are 
standing on the bank of a river and calling to the other bank 
to come to them. 

Now it seems to me that if Buddha were the uncom 
promising teacher of atheism that Dr. Rhys Davids pictures 
him, he has at this point an admirable opportunity of urging 
his views. The Brahmins, he would of course contend, knew 
nothing about Brahma, for the simple reason that no such 
being as Brahma exists. 

But this is exactly the line that Buddha does not take. 
His argument is that the Brahmins knew nothing of Brahma, 
because Brahma is purely spiritual, and they are purely 

Five "Veils," he shows, hide Brahma from mortal ken. 
These are 

1. The Veil of Lustful Desire. 

2. The Veil of Malice. 

3. The Veil of Sloth and Idleness. 

4. The Veil of Pride and Self-righteousness. 

5. The Veil of Doubt. 

Buddha then goes on with his questionings : 

" Is Brahma in possession of wives and wealth ? " 

" He is not, Gautama," answers Vasettha the Brahmin. 

" Is his mind full of anger, or free from anger ? " 

" Free from anger, Gautama." 

" Is his mind full of malice, or free from malice ? 

" Free from malice, Gautama." 

" Is his mind depraved or pure ? " 

" It is pure, Gautama." 

" Has he self-mastery, or has he not ? " 

" He has, Gautama." 

The Brahmins are then questioned about themselves. 


" Are the Brahmins versed in the three Vedas, in possession 
of wives and wealth, or are they not ? " 

" They are, Gautama." 

" Have they anger in their hearts, or have they not ? " 

" They have, Gautama." 

" Do they bear malice, or do they not? " 

" They do, Gautama." 

" Are they pure in heart, or are they not ? " 

" They are not, Gautama." 

" Have they self-mastery, or have they not ? " 

" They have not, Gautama." 

These replies provoke, of course, the very obvious retort 
that no point of union can be found between such dissimilar 
entities. Brahma is free from malice, sinless, self-contained, 
so, of course, it is only the sinless that can hope to be in 
harmony with him. 

Vasettha then puts this question : " It has been told me, 
Gautama, that Sramana Gautama knows the way to the state 
of union with Brahma ? " 

" Brahma I know, Vasettha," says Buddha in reply, " and 
the world of Brahma, and the path leading to it." 

The humbled Brahmins learned in the three Vedas then 
ask Buddha to " show them the way to a state of union with 

Buddha replies at considerable length, drawing a sharp 
contrast between the lower Brahminism and the higher Brah- 
minism, the "householder" and the "houseless one." The 
householder Brahmins are gross, sensual, avaricious, insincere. 
They practice for lucre black magic, fortune-telling, cozenage. 
They gain the ear of kings, breed wars, predict victories, 
sacrifice life, spoil the poor. As a foil to this he paints the 
recluse, who has renounced all worldly things, and is pure, 
self-possessed, happy. 

To teach this " higher life," a Tathagata " from time to 
time is born into the world, blessed and worthy, abounding in 
wisdom, a guide to erring mortals." He sees the universe 
face to face, the spirit world of Brahma and that of Mara the 
tempter. He makes his knowledge known to others. The 


houseless one, instructed by him, " lets his mind pervade one 
quarter of the world with thoughts of pity, sympathy, and 
equanimity ; and so the second, and so the third, and so the 
fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, 
and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of 
pity, sympathy and equanimity, far-reaching, grown great, 
and beyond measure." l 

" Verily this, Vasettha, is the way to a state of union with 
Brahma," and he proceeds to announce that the Bhikshu, or 
Buddhist beggar, " who is free from anger, free from malice, 
pure in mind, master of himself, will, after death, when the 
body is dissolved, become united with Brahma." The Brah 
mins at once see the full force of this teaching. It is as a 
conservative in their eyes that Buddha figures, and not an 
innovator. He takes the side of the ancient spiritual religion 
of the country against rapacious innovators. 

" Thou hast set up what was thrown down," they say to 
him. In the Burmese Life he is described more than once as 
one who has set the overturned chalice once more upon its 

An extract from the Mundaka Upanishad of the Atharva 
Veda may here throw a light on Brahma andjanion with him : 
" He is great and incomprehensible by the senses, and con 
sequently his nature is beyond human conception. He, 
though more subtle than vacuum itself, shines in various ways. 
From those who do not know him he is at a greater distance 
than the limits of space, and to those who acquire a know 
ledge of him he is near ; and whilst residing in animate 
creatures is perceived, although obscurely, by those who apply 
their thoughts to him. He is not perceptible by vision, nor is 
he describable by means of speech, neither can he be the 
object of any of the organs of sense, nor can he be conceived 
by the help of austerities or religious rites ; but a person 
whose mind is purified by the light of true knowledge through 
incessant contemplation perceives him the most pure God. 
Such is the invisible Supreme Being. He should be seen in 
the heart wherein breath consisting of five species rests. The 
1 "Buddhist Suttas," p. 201. 


mind being perfectly freed from impurity, God, who spreads 
over the mind and all the senses, imparts a knowledge of 
himself to the heart." l 

In point of fact the language of the Buddhist mystic is 
very like that of all other mystics. Thomas a Kempis, in his 
" Soliloquy of the Soul," has a chapter headed, " On the Union 
of the Soul with God." 2 Indeed, all the Christian mystics 
sought this " union " quite as earnestly as Buddha. St. 
Theresa had her oraison d union? St. Augustine based all 
his mysticism on the text (John xiv. 23), "Jesus answered 
and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words : 
and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, 
and make Our abode with him." 4 

Clement of Alexandria sketches the end to be kept in 
view by the " Christian Gnostic : " " Dwelling with the Lord 
He will continue His familiar friend, sharing the same hearth 
according to the Spirit." 5 

Madame Guyon renewed her mystical " Marriage with the 
Child Jesus " every year. 

The mystics of all religions sought this union with God 
by means of extasia. The method is described in the Persian 
Sharistan and the Zerdusht Afshar ; and the processes are 
completely similar to those of the Indian yogi. He whom the 
ancient Persian called Izad, and the modern Persian Allah, is 
thus described by Maulavi Jami 

"Thou but an atom art, He, the Great Whole. But if 
for a few days thou meditate with care on the Whole thou 
becomest one with it." 6 

Mr. Vaughan, in his " Hours with the Mystics," shows 
that the motto of the Neo-Platonist was, "Withdraw into 
thyself; and the Adytum of thine own soul will reveal to 
thee profounder secrets than the cave of Mithras." He 
asserts that a mystic, according to Dionysius the Areopagite, 
is not merely a sacred personage acquainted with the doctrines, 

1 Rajah Rammohun Roy, " Translation of the Veds," p. 36. 

2 Ch. xiii. 3 Madame Guyon, " Discours Chretiens," vol. ii. p. 344. 
4 Cited by Madame Guyon. 5 " Misc.," p. 60. 

6 Olcott, "Yoga Philosophy," p. 271. 


and participator in the rites called mysteries, but one also 
who, exactly after the Neo-Platonist pattern, by mortifying 
the body attains the " divine union." x Cornelius Agrippa 
and Behmen held the same views. 

I may mention, as an interesting fact, that catholic 
mysticism has very nearly the same terminology as Buddhism. 
Madame Guyon and the mystics have their " states " likewise, 
the " mystic indifference," 2 " 1 aneantissement," 3 the mystical 
" death." 4 When Buddha was performing his " Dhyana," it 
is said that the " Chakravala " (visible universe) became 
invisible, and the azure domains of the Buddhas (the spirit 
world) " luminous." 5 Madame Guyon, in her " Moyen Court," 
cites Revelations iii. 7, 8, to show that the mystic " key of 
David " consists in " shutting the eyes of the body and 
opening the eyes of the soul." 6 Of course this " annihilation," 
this " death," this " indifference " only refers to the lower life 
with St. Francois de Sales and Madame Guyon. And I think 
we must say the same of early Buddhism. 

1 Vaughan, vol. i. p. 22. 2 L. Guerrier, " Madame Guyon," p. 342. 

3 Ibid., p. 112. 4 Ibid., p. 116. 

5 " Lalita Vistara," p. 267. fi " Moyen Court," p. 10. 



The Nazarite-Mystical and Anti-mystical Israel-Christ usually sup 
posed to have belonged to the latter Position combated Early 
Persecution of Disciples. 


THE theory about Christ at present the most in vogue is 
based upon the idea that He accepted the religion of Israel as 
interpreted by its recognized interpreters. It is held that 
when He declared that not a jot or tittle of the Law should 
be relaxed until the heavens and earth shall pass away, He 
alluded to the Law of Moses as interpreted by the dominant 
party. His life in consequence, in respect to customs, con 
duct, and rites, was strictly in accordance with the Mosaic 


Dr. Lightfoot, as well as Baur, and Strauss, and Gibbon, 
holds this view. The latter writers lay emphasis on the fact 
that He announced that His mission was to be confined to 
the house of Israel, and that He called the rest of the world 
" dogs." Dr. Lightfoot expresses practically the same idea ; 
for he says that, " after Christ s death the Church was still 
confined to one nation," and that " the Master Himself had 
left no express instructions" for a wider propagandism. 
" Emancipation," he says, from the " swathing-bands " of the 
Mosaic ritual, came from the Apostles " under the guidance 
of the Holy Spirit," l the doctor failing to explain why in 
the matter of institutions that God Almighty had just come 
on earth in bodily form expressly to perpetuate any " emanci 
pation," was required. 

1 " Commentary on Galatians," pp. 286, 287. 


But will this theory bear scrutiny ? In an early chapter 
of St. Matthew s Gospel, we read the following : 

" And, behold, there was a man which had his hand 
withered. And they asked Him, saying, Is it lawful to heal 
on the sabbath days ? that they might accuse Him. And 
He said unto them, What man shall there be among you, 
that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the 
sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out ? How 
much then is a man better than a sheep ? Wherefore it is 
lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith He to the 
man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth ; 
and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the 
Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how 
they might destroy Him. But when Jesus knew it, He with 
drew Himself from thence : and great multitudes followed 
Him, and he healed them all ; And charged them that they 
should not make Him known" (Matt. xii. 10-16). 

This is from Matt. ix. 32-35 

" As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb 
man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast 
out, the dumb spake : and the multitudes marvelled, saying, 
It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He 
casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. And 
Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their 
synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and 
healing every sickness and every disease among the people." 

This is another passage 

" They answered Him, We be Abraham s seed, and were 
never in bondage to any man : how sayest Thou, Ye shall be 
made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto 
you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And 
the servant abideth not in the house for ever : but the Son 
abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye 
shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham s seed ; 
but ye seek to kill Me, because My word hath no place in 
you. I speak that which I have seen with My Father : and 
ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They 
answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus 



saith unto them, If ye were Abraham s children, ye would do 
the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill Me, a man 
that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God : 
did not Abraham" (John viii. 33~4o). 

It will be seen from these passages that the Jews s 
the life of Jesus on the following charges : 

1. Sabbath breaking. 

2. Demonology. 

3. "Speaking the truth," or assailing the views of the 

dominant party. 

If one of these narratives is an authentic narrative, it 
plain that the theory that Jesus was a strict observer of the 
Law of Moses, as interpreted by the dominant party, falls to 

the ground. 

I come to a still more striking passage. It seems to me 
to traverse the position of Bishop Lightfoot, who, in his 
"Commentary on the Colossians," maintains that Christ 
attended the three bloody festivals of the sacrificial or anti- 
mystical Israel. 

" And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all 
these things : and they derided Him. And He said unto 
them Ye are they which justify yourselves before men ; but 
God knoweth your hearts : for that which is highly esteemed 
among men is abomination in the sight of God. The Law 
and the prophets were until John : since that time the king 
dom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 
And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle 
of the law to fail" (Luke xvi. 14-17)- 

This passage is of great importance. If < 
uttered the speech contained in it, it unmistakably shows 
that, far from considering the Mosaic edicts as interpreted by 
their recognized interpreters binding until the day of judg 
ment, he believed them to have been annulled by John the 
Baptist, who, according to Josephus, was put to death to 
satisfy the priestly party. 

Here is another pregnant passage 

"And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought 
up : and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on 


the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was 
delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And 
when He had opened the book, He found the place where it 
was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He 
hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor ; He hath 
sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to 
the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at 
liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year 
of the Lord. And He closed the book, and He gave it again 
to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them 
that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He 
began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in 
your ears. And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the 
gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And 
they said, Is not this Joseph s son ? And He said unto them, 
Ye will surely say unto Me this proverb, Physician, heal 
Thyself: whatsover we have heard done in Capernaum, do 
also here in Thy country. And He said, Verily I say unto 
you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell 
you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of 
Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six 
months, when great famine was throughout all the land ; 
But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, 
a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many 
lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet ; and 
none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. 
And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, 
were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust Him out 
of the city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill whereon 
their city was built, that they might cast him down head 
long. But He, passing through the midst of them, went His 
way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and 
taught them on the sabbath days. And they were aston 
ished at His doctrine : for His word was with power " (Luke 
iv. 16-32). 

This seems of the greatest importance. Instead of be 
holding soldiers strike down their most prominent champion 
by reason of a mistaken password a necessary inference if 


Christ belonged to anti-mystical Israel, we see here the word 
"Messiah" interpreted by two sets of disputants with the 
utmost precision. Christ says that he is "Messiah," or 
Anointed," in the sense that Isaiah announces that he also 
is "Anointed." He is the "prophet," like Elijah. The Spirit 
of God is upon Him in order that He may preach the gospel 
to the poor. In I Kings xix. 16, we find also that Elisha 
was anointed as Messiah. The word, with the Jews, meant a 
prophet as well as a king. 

The action of anti-mystical Israel is equally intelligible. 
They remember, of course, that it is laid down in the Tora 
(Lev xviii. 20), that "the prophet who shall presume 
speak a word" in God s name, which the Almighty has not 
commanded him to speak must die. They remember, also, 
that divination (the occultism of rivals) is also (Lev. xviii. 
10) a capital offence. And if Christ had really pronounced 
that the Law of Moses was annulled, the scribes and doctors 
would quickly have jumped to the conclusion that a prophet 
so speaking was not the mouthpiece of Jehovah, who had 
positively pronounced that the law and covenant was an ever 
lasting covenant (i Chron. xvi. 17; Isa. xxiv. 5) ; and that 
-the statutes, and ordinances, and the law, and the command 
ment which He wrote, was to be observed for evermore " 

(2 Kings xvii. 37). 

Another instructive group of facts may here be adduce 
the circumstances attending the death of Stephen. 

We there see that within three short years of Christ s 
death, there was a vast apparatus of persecution actively at 
work. St. Paul tells us that he himself persecuted to the 
"death;" that "entering every house and haling men and 
women/he committed them to prison." He shows also that 
this vast apparatus of "havock," and " threatenings and 
slaughter," had already branches in Damascus and in the 
provinces, as well as in Jerusalem. What is the explanation 
of this ? Certainly Caiaphas, who denied any after-life, could 
at this time have had no view of Christ s Kingship in heavenly 
abodes definite enough to stir up all this activity. The ex 
planation given by Dean Howson and Mr. Conybeare appears 


the true one. These Christians were persecuted not because 
they were Christians, but because they were Jews, who set 
the Laws of Moses at defiance. Was not this the charge 
against Paul as late as his last visit to Jerusalem. 

" And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews 
which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred 
up all the people, and laid hands on him, crying out, Men 
of Israel, help : this is the man, that teacheth all men every 
where against the people, and the law, and this place " (Acts 
xxi. 27). 

As I go on I shall make it plain that from the very earliest 
institution of the disciples the Laws of Moses, as interpreted 
by the dominant party, were systematically violated. From 
the same early period I shall make it also plain that the 
recognized interpreters of those laws sought the lives of Christ 
and His followers for capital offences against Jerusalem and 
the Mosaic edicts. And the answer of the Christians from 
first to last may be summed up in the words of Paul 

" Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the 
temple, nor yet against Csesar, have I offended anything at 
all " (Acts xxv. 8). 

What is the meaning of this paradox ? Here we have two 
sets of disputants, both of a nation not behind, but rather 
ahead of the rest of the world in acuteness, reasoning appa 
rently with the inconsequence of a nightmare. The position 
of the first set is something after this fashion. Jehovah, they 
say, through his Prophet Moses, has categorically given forth 
certain edicts for the avowed object of making the Hebrew 
nation an ensample to the other nations of the earth for ever 
and ever. Thus it has been ordained that every male shall 
come up to Jerusalem, the capital city, for the three great 
yearly festivals. Certain rites and sacrifices must then be 
gone through to honour God and enrich the priesthood. It 
is ordained also that the sabbath day shall be strictly kept 
holy. It is ordained that the phenomena of supernaturalism, 
prophecy, healing by exorcism, etc., shall not be practised 
except under the supervision of the recognized priesthood. 
And yet the rival party violate these plain edicts, not inad- 


vertently, upon occasion ; but perpetually, on system. Plainly 
the punishments of the Laws of Moses, whatever their rigour, 
must everywhere be put in force to protect the religion of 

To all this the second party make one plain answer : 
" Not one tittle of the law have we violated, or will we violate 
till doomsday." 

Is it not plain, that by the word " law," each party mean 
something different. 

This will, I think, come out more clearly if we consider 
the curious way in which another section of the Jews, the 
Essenes and Therapeuts, like the early Christians, professed 
to be extra strict followers of the edicts of Moses, and yet 
violated those laws at every turn. 

" Our law-giver," says Philo, " trained into fellowship great 
numbers of pupils who bear the name of Essenes, being, I 
imagine, honoured with the appellation by virtue of their 
holiness." This is from his work, " Every Virtuous Man is 
Free." A passage from another work of his leaves us in no 
doubt as to who this legislator was to taken to be 

" I will set in contrast the entertainments of those that 
have consecrated their private life and themselves to gnosis 
and the contemplation of the affairs of Nature, in accordance 
with the most sacred guidance of the Prophet Moses " (" Vit. 
Contempl."). And Josephus does not hesitate to describe these 
mystics as refusing to take part altogether in the yearly fes 
tivals and the sacrifices of the Mosaic ritual as interpreted by 
those who sat in Moses s seat. 

" They perform no sacrifices on account of the different 
rules of purity which they observe. Hence, being excluded 
from the common sanctuary, they perform sacred rites of their 
own " (" Antiq.," I, 2, and 5). That the Essenes were also per 
secuted, I think is quite plain. Philo talks of their " hiding- 
places," and of the terrible oaths that each took to preserve 
the secrets of the order " in the presence of force and at the 
hazard of his life." Josephus alludes to the terrible tortures 
that they cheerfully submitted to, rather than eat of things 
forbidden. It is true that this second assertion refers to them 


at a later date than the description of Philo ; but Christ tells 
us that from the date of Zacharius, and even of Abel, mystical 
Israel was persecuted from city to city at the blood-stained 
hands of the Pharisees and Scribes (Matt, xxiii. 35). 

My citations from Origen and the " Kabbalah," in my first 
chapter, explain in part the crucial issues between mystical 
and anti-mystical Israel. 

The latter party said practically: We have a book of 
sacred law, and that law must be interpreted like any other 
legal document, or immense confusion will arise. 

The mystics replied that all scriptures are written by 
mystics to teach mysticism, and a book must be judged by 
the canons of its writers. The secret wisdom handed down 
in the " Kabbalah " taught them that the Tora was intended 
to conceal more than it was intended to reveal. There was 
a knowledge that was made known to the " Chosen of God" 
after painful initiations. It was called the " Luminous Mirror," 
in contrast with the " Non-luminous Mirror," the vision of 
ordinary mortals. It was called the " Tree of Life," as contra 
distinguished from the " Tree of Knowledge." : 

" Come and see when the soul reaches that place which 
is called the Treasury of Life she enjoys a bright and luminous 
mirror which receives its light from the highest heaven. The 
soul could not bear this light but for the luminous mantle 
which she puts on. For just as the soul when sent to this 
earth puts on an earthly garment to preserve herself here, so 
she receives above a shining garment in order to be able to 
look without injury into the mirror whose light proceeds 
from the Lord of Light. Moses, too, could not approach to 
look into that higher light which he saw without putting 
on such an ethereal garment as it is written And Moses 
went into the midst of the cloud, which is translated by 
means of the cloud wherewith he wrapped himself as if dressed 
in a garment. At that time Moses almost discarded the 
whole of his earthly nature, as it is written And Moses was 
on the mountain forty days and forty nights. And he thus 
approached that dark cloud where God is enthroned. In this 

1 Ginsburg, The Kabbalah," p. 37. 


wise the departed spirits of the righteous dress themselves in 
the upper regions in luminous garments, to be able to endure 
that light which streams from the Lord of Light." ] 

Origen calls this luminous mirror the " soul " of the scrip 
tures, whereas the historical part is " body," is intended only 
for minds yet in darkness. 

Clement of Alexandria also held that there was a twofold 
knowledge, and that the higher knowledge wjis_ imparted by 
Christ to James, Peter, John, and Paul. " It was not designed; 
for the multitude, but communicated to those only who were j 
capable of receiving it orally, not by writing." f ^ 

The same system was prominent amongst the Essenes, who 
expounded their " hereditary laws " every seventh day. " Then 
one takes the books and reads," says Philo ; " and another of 
the most experienced comes forward and expounds such 
things as are not well known, for most things are philo 
sophically treated among them through symbols, according 
to the old-fashioned mode of pursuit." s 

Of the Therapeuts he writes also : " For they read the 
sacred scriptures, and seek after wisdom by allegorical expo 
sition of the hereditary philosophy, inasmuch as they regard 
what constitutes the letter of each utterance as the symbol of 
a nature that is withheld from sight but revealed in the hidden 
meanings. They possess, besides, compositions of ancient 
men who were the founders of the school, and bequeathed 
many a memorial of the allegorical manner of which they 
avail themselves by way of archetypes, and so closely follow 
the method of the original school." 

Let us now study mystical Israel a little more closely, 
beginning with the Essenes and Therapeuts. 

i Ginsburg, " The Kabbalah," p. 38. 

Hr z See " Clement of Alexandria," by Dr. Kaye, Bishop of Lincoln, p. 241, 
3 " Every Virtuous Man is Free." 4 Philo, " Vit. Contempl." 

( 73 ) 


Mystical Israel Essenes and Therapeuts Letter of Philo to Hephasstion 
Therapeut and Buddhist Monasteries Points of Contact between 
the Buddhists and Israel Mystical The Buddhist and Essene Bap 
tism The Buddhist and Essene Mysterium. 


Neander divides Israel at the date of Christ into three 

1. Phariseeism, the "dead theology of the letter." 

2. Sadduceeism, " debasing of the spiritual life into world- 

3. Essenism, Israel mystical a "commingling of Judaism 
with the old Oriental theosophy." l 

Concerning this latter section, Philo wrote a letter to a 
man named Hephaestion, of which the following is a portion : 

" I am sorry to find you saying that you are not likely to 
visit Alexandria again. This restless, wicked city can present, 
but few attractions, I grant, to a lover of philosophic quiet. 
But I cannot commend the extreme to which I see so many 
hastening. A passion for ascetic seclusion is becoming daily 
more prevalent among the devout and the thoughtful, whether 
Jew or Gentile. Yet surely the attempt to combine contem 
plation and action should not be so soon abandoned. A man 
ought at least to have evinced some competency for the dis 
charge of the social duties before he abandons them for the 
divine. First thejess, then the greater. 

" I have tried the life of the recluse. Solitude brings no 

1 Neander, " Life of Christ," vol. i. pp. 36-40 ; also " History of 
the Christian Religion," vol. i. p. 60. 


escape from spiritual danger. If it closes some avenues of 
temptation, .there are few in whose case it does not open more. 
Yet the Therapeutae, a sect similar to the Essenes, with whom 
you are acquainted, number many among them whose lives 
are truly exemplary. Their cells are scattered about the 
region bordering on the farther shore of the Lake Mareotis. 
The members of either sex live a single and ascetic life, 
spending their time in fasting and contemplation, in prayer 
or reading. They believe themselves favoured with divine 
illumination an inner light. They assemble on the Sabbath 
for worship, and listen to mystical discourses on the tradi 
tionary lore which they say has been handed down in secret 
among themselves. They also celebrate solemn dances and 
processions of a mystic significance by moonlight on the 
shore of the great mere. Sometimes, on an occasion of 
public rejoicing, the margin of the lake on our side will be 
lit with a fiery chain of illuminations, and galleys, hung with 
lights, row to and fro with strains of music sounding over the 
broad water. Tli2n the Therapeutae are all hidden in their 
little hermitages, and these sights and sounds of the world 
they have abandoned make them withdraw into themselves 
and pray. 

" Their principle at least is true. The soul which is occu 
pied with things above, and is initiated into the mysteries of 
the Lord, cannot but account the body evil, and even hostile. 
The soul of man is divine, and his highest wisdom is to 
become as much as possible a stranger to the body with its 
embarrassing appetites. God has breathed into man from 
heaven a portion of His own divinity. That which is divine 
is invisible. It may be extended, but it is incapable of sepa 
ration. Consider how vast is the range of our thought over 
the past and the future, the heavens and the earth. This 
alliance with an upper world, of which we are conscious, 
would be impossible, were not the soul of man an indivisible 
portion of that divine and blessed spirit. Contemplation of the 
divine essence is the noblest exercise of man ; it is the only 
means of attaining to the highest truth and virtue, and therein 
to behold God is the consummation of our happiness here. 


" The confusion of tongues at the building of the tower of 
Babel should teach us this lesson. The heaven those vain 
builders sought to reach, signifies symbolically the mind, where 
dwell divine powers. Their futile attempt represents the pre 
sumption of those who place sense above intelligence who 
think that they can storm the Intelligible by the Sensible. 
The structure which such impiety would raise is overthrown 
by spiritual tranquility. In calm retirement and contempla 
tion we are taught that we know like only by like, and that 
the foreign and lower world of the sensuous and the practical 
may not intrude into the lofty region of divine illumination." 

" An alliance with the upper world " was, we see here, the 
object of these dreaming Essenes. This in India is called yoga 
(union). Was there any connection between the Indian and 
Jewish mystics ? 

The most subtle thinker of the modern English Church, 
the late Dean Mansel, boldly maintained that the philosophy 
and rites of the Therapeuts of Alexandria were due to 
Buddhist missionaries who visited Egypt within two genera 
tions of the time of Alexander the Great. In this he has 
been supported by philosophers of the calibre of Schclling 
and Schopenhauer, and the great Sanskrit authority, Lassen. 
Renan, in his work " Les Langues Semetiques," also sees 
traces of this Buddhist propagandism in Palestine before the 
Christian era. Hilgenfeld, Mutter, Bohlcn, King, all admit 
the Buddhist influence. Colebrooke saw a striking similarity 
between the Buddhist philosophy and that of the Pytha 
goreans. Dean Milman was convinced that the Therapeuts 
sprung from the " contemplative and indolent fraternities " of 

Until I came across this bird s-eye view of a rude monas 
tery in Siam (see Plate II.), I had no very clear idea of a 
monastery of the Therapeuts in the jungle near Alexandria. 
It is a drawing by an old traveller, given to us by Picart. We 
see the house of assembly in the centre, where the Therapeuts, 
according to Philo, assembled every Sabbath for religious ser 
vices. We see the cells of the monks sprinkled round in a 
rude city " four-square." Modern India gives us a far more 


accurate picture than we can get elsewhere of ancient Palestine, 
for it is an ancient Asiatic civilization that has not yet 
passed away. When I campaigned against a rude tribe called 
Sonthals, in 1855, I saw everywhere the "booths of leaves" of 
the Bible, the pansil of early Buddhist books. Since the days 
of Job, thieves "dig into" the rude mud walls of the East. 
Visitors to the Indian and Colonial Exhibition may have 
seen several straw-thatched houses where this would have 
been feasible. Of such a pattern with mud or matted walls 
were the huts, perhaps, of the Therapeuts. 

Father La Loubere, in his " Description du Royaume de 
Siam," x gives us some very interesting details of Buddhist 
convent life. In a central quadrangle is the chief building 
surrounded by mortuary pyramidal columns, each covering 
the ashes of some rich man or saint, but dedicated to one of 
the Buddhas, and suggesting the columns in a Christian grave 
yard. In a second enclosure are the little mat-built pansils 
of the monks, surrounding the central building. Each holds 
a sramana and his servant-pupils, to the number sometimes 
of three. Each, too, has two little chambers in which a 
wandering beggar can obtain food and shelter, as amongst 
the Essenes. "I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: 
I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink : I was a stranger, 
and ye took me not in ; naked, and ye clothed me not : sick 
and in prison, and ye visited me not " (Matt. xxv.). 

Each monastery is presided over by a sancrat or bishop, 
whose insignia is an accurate mitre, carved on a stone pedestal, 
which fact satisfied the good father that the Buddhists had 
stolen many ideas from the Christians. Matins began when 
a monk could see the veins of his hand, or see clearly enough 
to prevent him destroying reptile life in walking to the temple. 
The chanting went on for two hours, and then the begging 
friars, two and two, as in the Catholic Church, went round the 
neighbourhood and collected their scanty food. The meal 
seems to have been something after the pattern of the Thera- 
peut bloodless oblation, for a portion of the food is always 
solemnly offered to Buddha. Then comes teaching, reading, 
1 Picart, vol. vii. 


meditation ; and then what the father calls " La Meridiane," 
noon-day prayers. His description of a sermon with a text 
taken from the sayings of Buddha is most interesting. The 
monks are ranged on one side of the temple, and the nuns on 
the other. At the close, they say solemnly, "This is the 
Word of God ! " The Catholic father cites some of their 
texts : "Judge not thy neighbour. Say not this man is good. 
This man is wicked ! " This seems specially to have struck 

Assisted by Philo, let us draw up some more points of 
contact between the Therapeut and Buddhist monks : 

1. Enforced vegetarianism, community of goods, rigid 
abstinence from sexual indulgence, also a high standard of 
purity, were common to both the Buddhists and the Thera- 

2. Neither community allowed the use of wine. 

3. Both were strongly opposed to the blood sacrifice of 
the old priesthoods. 

4. The monks of both communities devoted their lives 
exclusively to the acquirement of a knowledge of God. 

5. Long fastings were common to both. 

6. With both silence was a special spiritual discipline. 

7. The Therapeut left " for ever," says Philo, " brothers, 
children, wives, father, and mother," for the contemplative 
life. This is Buddhism. 

8. Like the Buddhists, the Therapeuts had nuns vowed 
to chastity. These were quite distinct, as Philo points out, 
from the vestals of the Greek temples. With the latter the 
chastity was enforced, with the former voluntary. 

9. The preacher and the missionary, two original ideas of 
Buddhism, were conspicuous amongst the Therapeuts. This 
was in direct antagonism to the spirit of Mosaism. 

10. The Therapeut, as his name implies, was a healer (or 
" curate " as Eusebius calls him) of body and soul. The 
Buddhist monks are the only physicians in most Buddhist 
countries. They cure by simples, and by casting out devils. 

11. The Therapeut squatted on a "mat of papyrus" in 
his sanctuary. The monks " took their seats on mats covered 


with white calico," says Mr. Dickson, describing a general 
confession in a Buddhist temple. 1 

12. The Therapeuts were classed as, first, presbyters 
(elders), an exact equivalent for the word Arhat, used in 
Buddha s day for his fully initiated monks. Under the 
presbyter was the deacon (Staicovoe, covered with dust or 
dirt). These novices were servant-pupils, the servitor friars 
(Samaneros) of Buddhism. An ephemereut, or temporary 
head, presided at the Therapeut service as in Buddhism. 
That the Christians should have taken over this ephemereut 
and these presbyters, or priests, and deacons, as their three 
chief officers, is perhaps the greatest stumbling-block in the 
way of those writers, chiefly English and clerical, who main 
tain that there was no connection between Christianity and 
mystic Judaism. 

We have seen from Philo s letter to Hephaestion that he 
considered the Therapeuts the same as the Essenes. Indeed 
in another work, he calls the Essenes, " Therapeuts of God. 
From Josephus we get some additional facts relative to these 

1. Enforced vegetarianism was one of the main principles 
of the Essenes as well as of the Buddhists. They refused to 
go to Jerusalem to the temple sacrifices at the risk of being 

2. The Essenes had a " Sanhedrim of Justice " like the 
Buddhist Sangha. Excommunication in both was the chief 
punishment. This was altogether foreign to the lower 
Mosaism, which allowed no Jew to escape the obligations of 
the Jewish law. 

3. The Essenes, like the Buddhists, forbade slavery, war, 
revenge, avarice, hatred, worldly longings, etc. 

4. Although to "face towards the east" and "worship the 
sun towards the east " is one of the " abominations " of Ezekiel, 
the Essenes were not allowed to speak of a morning until 
they had bowed down to the rising sun. The sun is Buddha s 
special emblem. In Wung Puh s Life, he is called the 
" sublime sun, Buddha, whose widespread rays brighten and 

1 " Patimokkha," p. 2. 


illumine all things." In the same volume Buddha is reported 
to have said that " bowing to the east was the pdramitd of 

5. The Essenes, like the Buddhist monks, had ridiculous 
laws relating to spitting and other natural acts, those of the 
Essenes being regulated by a superstitious veneration for the 
Sabbath day, those of the Buddhists, by a superstitious respect 
for a pagoda. 1 

6. In Buddhist monasteries a rigid obedience, together 
with a quite superstitious respect for the person of a superior, 
is enacted. In Buddhagosa s Parables is a puerile story of a 
malicious Muni, who, when an inferior monk had gone out of 
a hut where the two were sleeping, lay across the doorway in 
order to make the novice inadvertently commit the great sin 
of placing his foot above his superior s head. The penalty of 
such an act is that the offender s head ought to be split into 
seven pieces. With the Essenes similar superstitions were 
rife. If an Approacher accidently touched the hem of the 
garment of an Associate, all sorts of purifications had to be 
gone through. 

7. The principle of thrift and unsavourincss in dress was 
carried to extremes by both Essenes and Buddhists. The 
sramana (ascetic) was required to stitch together for his 
kowat the refuse rags acquired by begging. The Essenes 
were expected to wear the old clothes of their co-religionists 
until they tumbled to pieces. 

In the Tibetan "Life of Buddha," by Rockhill, it is 
announced that when the great teacher first cast off his kingly 
silks he donned a foul dress that had been previously worn 
by ten other saints. 2 This throws light on the story of 

Dr. Ginsburg ("The Essenes," p. 13) shows that the 
Essenes had eight stages of progress in inner or spiritual 

1. Outward or bodily purity by baptism. 

2. The state of purity that has conquered the sexual 

1 Beal, " Catena," pp. 236, 237. 2 Rockhill, p. 26. 


3. Inward and spiritual purity. 

4. A meek and gentle spirit which has subdued all anger 
and malice. 

5. The culminating point of holiness. 

6. The body becomes the temple of the Holy Ghost, and 
the mystic acquires the gift of prophecy. 

7. Miraculous powers of healing, and of raising the dead. 

8. The mystic state of Elias. 

The Buddhists have likewise eight stages of inner progress, 
the Eightfold Holy Path. The first step, "Those who have 
entered the stream," the Nafraftjana, the mystic river of 
Buddha, is precisely the same as the first Essene step. Then 
follow advances in purity, holiness, and mastery of passion. 
In the last two stages, the Buddhists, like the Essenes, gained 
supernatural powers, to be used in miraculous cures, pro 
phecies, and other occult marvels. It must be mentioned that 
the Essenes were circumcised as well as the other Jews. 1 ^ 

The word " Essenes," according to some learned philolo 
gists, means the " Bathers " or Baptisers," baptism having 
been their initiatory rite. Josephus tells us that this baptism 
was not administered until the aspirant had remained a whole 
year outside the community, but "subjected to their rule 

of life." 2 

I will here give the rite of Buddhist baptism (abhisheka) 
when a novice is about to become a monk. It consists of 
many washings, borrowed plainly by the early Buddhists 
from the Brahmins, and brings to mind the frequent use of 
water attributed to the Hemero Baptists or disciples of John. 
It may be mentioned that in some Buddhist countries, Nepal 
for instance, the various monkish vows are now taken only 
for form sake. This makes the letter, retained after the 
spirit has departed, all the more valuable. 

The neophyte having made an offer of scents and unguents 
(betel-nut, paun, etc.) to his spiritual guide (guru), the latter, 
after certain formalities, draws four circles in the form of a 
cross in honour of the Tri Ratna (trinity) on the ground, and 

1 See Origen s version of Josephus s narrative. 

2 Josephus, DeB. J. II. 8,2-13. 


the neophyte, seated in a prescribed position, recites the 
following text : " I salute Buddha-nath, Dharma, and Sangha, 
and entreat them to bestow upon me the Parivrajya Vrata." 
It is plain here that the prayer is addressed to the transcen 
dental triad. The first and second day of the ceremonial are 
consumed in prayers and formalities carried on by the guide 
and his pupil alone ; on the second day, another mystic cross 
is drawn upon the ground, called the " Swastika asan." 
A pot containing water and other mystic ingredients, a gold 
lotus, and certain confections and charms, figures conspicuously 
in these early rites, and is at last poured on the neophyte s 
head. This is the baptism. 

The abbot, or head of the vihara, now appears upon the 
scene, and sprinkles four seers of rice and milk upon the head 
of the aspirant. This ceremony is repeated three times. 
The next day, a barber makes a clean shave of the neophyte s 
head, leaving only the forelock. Previous to this, the latter 
has pledged himself to forsake intoxicating liquors, women, 
evil thoughts, pride ; and promised not to injure any living 
creature. More washings take place, including a fresh 
baptism by four ecclesiastics of rank. It must be mentioned 
that a Buddhist baptism is preceded by a confession of sins 
and much catechising. The catechumen s name is changed 
after the baptism. He promises to devote his future life to 
the Divine triad. The monks of rank then invoke a blessing 
on his head : " May you be as happy as he who dwells in 
the hearts of all, who is the Universal Soul, the Lord of 
all, the Buddha called Ratna Sambhava ! " 

The change is called the " whole birth ; " and at one 
moment a light is kindled. The early Christians after 
initiation were called the "illuminati." A solemn address 
is made to the triad individually Buddha, whom "gods and 
men alike worship," who is apart from the world, "the 
quintessence of all good ; " Dharma, who is the Prajna Para- 
mita, the mother, the guide to perfect wisdom and peace ; 
and Sangha, the son. A mitre like the Mithraic cap is put 
on at one portion of the ceremonial. The ceremonies for 
Buddha s new birth of water and the spirit must sound hollow 



indeed, now that nothing but form remains ; but this form 
to an inquirer into early Buddhism has a special value. 

In Tibet this baptism also exists. In Japan that excellent 
authority, Mr. Pfoundes, tells me that he has frequently seen 
neophytes being baptized, or sprinkled with water mixed 
with aromatic simples. Mr. Oung Gyee tells me that baptism 
is unknown in Southern Buddhism, although in Burmah they 
sometimes initiate the novice at the bank of a river, without 
sprinkling. This last seems a trace of it as having once 
existed, and so do the mighty tanks excavated in Ceylon. 
Wung Puh informs us that at " Vaisali, Buddha resided under 
a tree (the music-tree), and there delivered a sutra entitled 
The baptism that rescues from life and death, and confers 
salvation. " 1 

The other great rite of the Essenes was what the mystical 
societies of the era of Christ called the " Bloodless Oblation." 
This is the name that was given to the Christian sacrament 
in the early rituals. According to Josephus, this rite, like 
the early Christian rite, was practically the daily dinner. To 
it, "as if to the most holy precincts," the monks, bathed 
and "purified," assembled. Its hour was the fifth hour 
after sunrise. White garments were donned, and strangers 
and catechumens rigidly excluded. Philo, speaking of the 
Therapeuts, calls it "that portion of the mysteries which is 
most transcendent." He compares, also, the bread used to 
the shew-bread of the temple, thus explicitly showing that 
these mysteries were the Jewish mysteries niched from 
an exclusive priesthood and given to the people. The shew- 
bread, literally the " Bread of the Faces," or " of the Presence," 
consisted of twelve loaves, which denoted the " presence " of 
Jehovah himself, under his twelve mystical faces at the altar. 2 

In the " Lalita Vistara," it is announced that those who 
have faith will become sons of Buddha, and partake of " the 
food of the kingdom." 3 Four things draw disciples to the 
Great Banquet of Buddha gifts, soft words, production of 

1 Journ. As. Soc. vol. xx. p. 172. 

2 Smith s " Dictionary of the Bible," sub voce " Shew-bread." 

3 Foucaux, p. 94. 


Front Atiiarni>ati. 


benefits, conformity of benefits. 1 In Buddhism, the chief food 
of the ascetic, the rice and milk, is, by an intelligible trope, 
called the amrita, the food of immortal life ; and Buddha s 
era the epoch when the rice and milk came into the world. 
This use of food, and especially rice and milk, as a symbol of 
God, existed in India at a very early date. The main rite 
of the Brahmins, when they worshipped in a temple of un 
hewn upright stones, was an exhibition of the birth of the 
Sisur J atari, or new-born child. "The clarified butter is 
the milk of the woman," says the earliest ritual, the " Aitareya 
Brahmana," "the husked rice grains belong to the male.".. 2 
This symbol of food was perhaps the earliest symbol of God. 
In India, at certain seasons, it is made up into little idols ; 
and also in Tibet. 

In many of the early Buddhist sculptures, groups are to 
be seen worshipping a large wheaten or rice cake, as big and 
as round as a footstool. Mr. Pfoundes tells me that at the 
time of the new year, in Japan, he has seen cakes as large as 
this on the Buddhist altars. I copy one of these sculptures 
from the marbles of the Amaravati tope at the British Museum 
(see Plate III.). I am certain that this object is food. I saw 
in the South Kensington Museum, on a miniature chaitya 
from Sanchi, a similar object, ranged by a vase and covered 
with a cloth. 

The details of this mystic Therapeut dinner, as given by 
Philo, have caused Eusebius and a long line of Catholic 
writers to maintain that we have simply a description of the 
Christian sacramentum, a Latin form of the Greek word, 
/LLvcrrripiov, or " mystery." 

In the main building of the convent the monks and nuns 
assembled, being separated the one from the other by a par 
tition. After the chief monk had read some passages of the 
sacred writings and delivered an exhortation, " stretching forth 
one finger of his right hand " the while, the presbyters began 
to sing hymns in the choir and also at various "stations" of 
the building (as the Rev. Dom Bernard de Montfaucon trans 
lates the passage) and " altars." Whilst the ephemereut sang, 
Foucaux. p. 51. 2 Vol. ii. p. 5. 

8 4 


the rest of the community chanted responses in a solemn 
manner. Then a " table " was brought in by the deacons, 
and a solemn prayer was offered up to God, " that the feast 
shall be agreeable to Him." On the table was bread, salt, 
and hyssop and water, "the most sacred of all elements in 

After the " mysteries " of this holy feast had been gone 
through, and all the community had satisfied hunger, the 
monks and nuns danced together under some strange ecstatic 
influence until sunrise the next morning. This dance has 
puzzled the Roman Catholic commentators before alluded to, 
but some of them find records of religious dances in the early 

This description of the assembly in the hall of the monas 
tery, the sermons, the 
reading of the holy 
books, etc., is purely 
Buddhist. The pro 
cessions round the 
shrines of the temple 
is a marked feature of 
the Buddhist ritual, 
which the litany in 
praise of the seven 
Buddhas and similar 
rituals were designed 
specially to meet. In 
all Buddhist temples 
the priest intones and 
the lower monks chant 
responses the Gre 
gorian chant, according 
to Balfour s " Indian 
Cyclopaedia," being a 
Buddhist originality. 1 
Mr. Pfoundes tells me that in Japan and China the hours 
of feeding and the customs vary amongst different sects. 

1 Sub voce " Buddha." 

Fig. 7- 

-Tabernacle for the Real Presence 
of Buddha. 


Noonday is the chief meal, and each monk takes his portion 
from the common mess, and usually retires to his own hut, or 
cell, except when there is a feast, when they eat together in 
some portion of the temple, not the sanctuary. But wherever 
they eat, a portion of the food is always offered to Buddha at 
a little miniature altar. The Buddhists have a little tabernacle, 
like the Catholics, for the Real Presence of Buddha on the 
high altar. I copy one from the French Orientalist, Langles. 1 
He affirms that the sacred elements are placed inside, but this 
must be an exception. The rice and the scented water are 
placed in front usually. In the early Christian Church, the 
sacramentum was called the " giving," and the Greek Church 
still calls the sacred bread " Corban." 2 " Leave there thy gift 
before the altar," said Christ (Matt. v. 24), alluding, no doubt, 
to the " giving " of the Essenes. The " Corban " of the Greek 
Church has twelve impressions of the cross, thus further con 
necting it with the twelve mystical "faces" of the Jewish 

1 " Rituel des Tartares Mantchous." 2 Picart, iii. 189. 




IN Philo s letter to Hephaestion we have seen that the 
Therapeuts listened every sabbath to discourses on the 
traditionary lore which was handed down in secret amongst 
themselves. Has this secret lore passed away from the 
earth? Scholars of the calibre of Reuchlin, Joel, and M. 
Franck, of the Institute of France, affirm that we have it still 
in the " Kabbalah." This word implies secret tradition. 

The legend runs that this secret wisdom was first taught 
by Jehovah to the seven angels that stand round his throne. 
It was then handed down orally through the seven earthly 
messengers (Adam, Moses, David, etc.). 

Finally, the Rabbi Simon Ben Jochai, in a cavern amid 
earth rocking and supernatural coruscations, delivered it to 
the world in a " Book of Splendour," the " Sohar." 

It must be confessed, however, that the genuineness of the 
work, the " Sohar," is disputed. Dr. Ginsburg affirms that it 
is the original composition of a Spanish Jew, named Moses de 
Leon, who lived as recently as the fourteenth century, A.D. 
This question shall be discussed later on. If the work is 
a forgery, it is a very clever forgery ; for on its appearance in 
modern times it wrought quite a revolution in the Jewish 
religion. Philosophical Jews, who had been unable to accept 
the traditional Christianity, became Christian converts in large 
numbers ; and Christians felt that without the " Kabbalah " it 
was impossible to fully understand Christianity. It is asserted 
by Dr. Ginsburg, that Reuchlin s treatise upon the "Kabbalah" 


powerfully influenced the early reformers. 1 It produced also 
an illustrious school of mystics. Cornelius Henry Agrippa, 
John Baptist von Helmont, Robert Fludd, and Raymond 
Lully, developed under its teaching. 

Assisted by Dr. Ginsburg, let us briefly consider its 

Being boundless in his nature, which necessarily implies 
that he is an absolute unity and inscrutable, and there is 
nothing without him, or that the TO irav is in him, God is 
EN SOPH Endless, Boundless. In this boundlessness, or as 
the En Soph, he cannot be comprehended by the intellect or 
described in words, for there is nothing which can grasp and 
depict him to us ; and as such he is, in a certain sense, non 
existent, because, as far as our minds are concerned, that 
which is perfectly incomprehensible does not exist. To make 
his existence perceptible, and to render himself compre 
hensible, the En Soph, or the Boundless, had to become 
active and creative. But the En Soph cannot be the direct 
creator, for he has neither will, intention, desire, thought, 
language, nor action, as these properties imply limit and 
belong to finite beings, whereas En Soph is boundless. 
Besides, the imperfect and circumscribed nature of the creation 
precludes the idea that the world was created or even designed 
by him, who can have no will nor produce anything but what 
is like himself, boundless and perfect. On the other hand, 
again, the beautiful design displayed in the mechanism, the 
regular order manifested in the preservation, distinction, and 
renewal of things, forbid us to regard this world as the off 
spring of chance, and constrain us to recognize therein an 
intelligent design. We are therefore compelled to view the 
En Soph as the creator of the world in an indirect manner. 

Now, the medium by which the En Soph made his exist 
ence known in the creation of the world, are ten sephiroth 
or intelligences? which emanated from the Boundless One in 
the following manner : At first, the En Soph, or Aged of the 
Aged, or the Holy Aged, as he is alternately called, sent forth 

1 " The Kabbalah," p. 131. 

2 Translated also " attributes," " powers " 


from the spiritual light one spiritual substance or intelligence. 
This first sephira, which existed in the En Soph from all 
eternity, and became a reality by a mere act, has no less than 
seven appellations. 

I. The Crown, because it occupies the highest position. 

II. The Aged, because it is the oldest, or the first emana 

III. The Primordial Point, or the Smooth Point, because, 
as the " Sohar " tells us, " When the Concealed of the Con 
cealed wished to reveal himself, he first made a single point. 
The infinite was entirely unknown, and diffused no light 
before this luminous point violently broke through into vision" 
("Sohar" L, 15 a). 

IV. The White Head. 

V. The Long Face, Macro prosopon, because the whole ten 
sephiroth represent the primordial or heavenly man, of which 
the first sephira is the head. 

VI. The Inscrutable Height, because it is the highest of 
all the sephiroth, proceeding immediately from the En Soph. 

VII. Absolute Being, expressed in the Bible by Ehejeh, or 
/ am, representing the infinite as distinguished from the finite, 
and in the angelic order by the celestial beasts of Ezekiel, 
called chajoth. The first sephira contains the other nine 
sephira. Plainly it is En Soph reproduced. 

These nine sephiroth are as follows : 

1. Wisdom, called also the Father, an active male potency. 

2. Intelligence, called also the Mother, a passive or female 

It is from the union of these two, the Ophanim and Arelim, 
that the other seven sephiroth were produced. 

3. Love, greatness. 

4. Judgment, justice, strength. 

5. Beauty. 

6. Firmness. 

7. Splendour. 

8. Foundation. 

9. Kingdom. 

Summed up, these ten sephiroth, or perfections, were the 


perfections of the heavenly man, God imaged as the seen 
universe, and as a man, the active, the conceivable God. 

Now, it is certainly singular that this complete system of 
theogony, which is supposed by Dr. Ginsburg to be the 
original composition of Moses de Leon, a Jew who died in 
Spain, A.D. 1305, should be a literal, I might almost say a 
servile, reproduction in terminology as well as idea of the 
theogony of the Buddhists. And the portion that Dr. Gins- 
burg considers the most modern and spurious part of the 
" Kabbalah," namely, that of En Soph and the ten sephiroth, 1 
happens to be the part that is most conspicuously Buddhist 
in every detail. 

Buddha, called also the Swayambhu (the Self-Existent), 
Bhagavan (God), Adi Buddha (the First Intelligence), etc., 
is the formless, passionless, inactive, indefinable, illimitable, 
being that the " Kabbalah " describes under the title En Soph. 

" Know that when in the beginning all was perfect void 
and the five elements were not, then Adi Buddha, the stain 
less, was revealed in the form of flame and light. 

" He is without parts, shapeless, self-sustained, void of 
pain and care (Karanda Vyuha)." " He is the essence of all 
essences. He is the Vajra atma (Being of Adamant). He is 
the instantly produced lord of the Universe (Nama Sangiti)." 

Let us see if there are any other points of contact between 
En Soph and the transcendental Buddha. 

"The Aged of the Aged," says the "Sonar," "the Unknown 
of the Unknown has a form, yet has no form. He has a 
form whereby the universe is preserved, and yet has no form, 
because he cannot be comprehended. When he first assumed 
the form (of the first sephira) he caused nine splendid lights 
to emanate from it, which, shining through it, diffused a bright 
light in all directions. Imagine an elevated light sending 
forth its rays in all directions. Now, if we approach it to 
examine the rays, we understand no more than that they 
emanate from the said light. So is the Holy Aged an 
absolute light, but in himself concealed and incomprehen 
sible. We can only comprehend him through those luminous 
1 " The Kabbalah," p. 89. 


emanations which again are partly visible and partly con 
cealed. These constitute the sacred name of God." * 

This is asserting what we have seen written down of the 
Primordial Buddha, that he is "the form of all things yet 
formless," and that he was "first revealed in the form of 

A favourite Kabbalistic simile for En Soph is a point 
or dot. 

" The indivisible point who has no limit, and who cannot 
be comprehended because of his purity and brightness, ex 
panded from without and formed a brightness which served 
as a covering to the indivisible point. Yet it, too, could not 
be viewed in consequence of its immeasurable light. It, too, 
expanded from without, and this expansion was its garment. 
Thus everything originated through a constant upheaving 
agitation, and thus finally the world originated " (" Sohar," I. 
20 a). 

Now listen to the Buddhists : " He whose image is Sun- 
yata (no image), who is like a cypher, or point, infinite, 
unsustained in Nirvritti, and sustained in Pravritti, whose 
essence is Nirvritti, of whom all things are forms, and who is 
yet formless, who is the Isvara (God), the first intellectual 
essence, the first Buddha was revealed by his own will." 2 
I will proceed to show that the Buddhists have ten paramitas 
or perfections of Buddha, very like the sephiroth of the " Kab 

The conventional image of Buddha is that of an ascetic 
seated, with his eyes closed in the rapturous trance called 
Dhyani. Twas thus that a man was supposed to gain 
miraculous powers. The rationale of this, according to 
modern psychology, is that it is possible, by a species of self- 
mesmerism, to temporarily detach spirit from its mortal 
envelope, and to allow it to put forth its full powers. With 
such ideas current, it would be natural to image God by the 
figure of a man in Dhyani. This shows us the full force of 
the first Buddhist sephira or paramita. The first Jewish 
sephira represents, as we have seen, " absolute being," " the 
1 Ginsburg, p. 15. 2 Cited by Hodgson, p. 77. 


infinite as distinguished from the finite." By a fiction, it is 
represented as the one sephira that had been in existence 
from all eternity, the meaning, of course, being that the 
heavenly man must be En Soph as well as the anthropo 
morphic God. This first Buddhist paramita is Dhyani, and 
this seems to symbolize this truth better than the Jewish 

We then get two paramitas, Upaya and Prajna, which 
represent the fatherly and motherly principles, as in the 
" Kabbalah." 

" From the union of Upaya and Prajna," says an old 
Buddhist book cited by Mr. Hodgson, " proceeded the world." l 

Prajna is the exact equivalent of the Alexandrine word 
Sophia wisdom imaged as a woman. Upaya is variously 
translated. Its literal meaning is " approach." Burnouf 
renders it " wish " or " prayer." 

Upaya-Prajna, with the Buddhists, is a conception similar 
to the Ardha Nari (literally, half woman) of the Brahmins 
the kosmos imaged as a bi-sexual God. 2 

" The Anointed they call male-female," says Cyril of 
Jerusalem. 3 

The Karmikas hold that Upaya and Prajna parented 
Manas, the lord of the senses, and that he produced the 
tangible virtues and vices. 4 

There are three major and seven minor sephiroth in the 
" Kabbalah," as Franck shows. The seven minor paramitas 

1. Charity (Dana). 

2. Morality (Sila). 

3. Patience (Santi). 

4. Industry (Virya). 

5. Fortitude (Bala). 

6. Foreknowledge (Pranidhi). 

7. Gnosis (Jnana). 

But if we are to accept the dictum of Dean Mansel, that 
Buddhist missionaries visited Alexandria within two genera- 

1 "Essays," p. 88. 2 See Hodgson, pp. 80, 81. 

3 Bk. vi. ii. * Hodgson, p. 78. 


tions of the time of Alexander the Great, we can conceive 
that such missionaries would meet with one crucial difficulty. 
Prominent amongst Buddhist teaching would be the doctrine 
of Purusha, the heavenly man, and prominent amongst the 
Buddhist apparatus of worship brought from India would be 
marble and bronze statues of Purusha, with the celebrated 
thirty-two signs. But how would a graven image be received 
by a Jew ? Did he not interpret the second commandment 
as forbidding statues, pictures, all art ? 

The answer given to this question quite proves, I think, 
the genuineness of the " Kabbalah." It is quite impossible 
that Moses de Leon, A.D. 1300, could have hit upon so ingenious 
a device, because it is quite certain that in his day the ques 
tion to be solved could not have been appreciated in its full 
force. The solution was twofold. 

1. A compromise was adopted in the matter of the second 
commandment. Flat representations, pictures, bas-reliefs 
were permitted. This is proved from the many Alexandrian 
talismans and incised stones. We have also the evidence of 
the catacombs, modelled as Dean Stanley has shown, on the 
sepulchral crypts and rock chapels of Palestine. The Greek 
Church still only permits " flat icons." 

2. As many of the " signs " of Purusha fingers like 
copper, feet flat, and figured with lotuses and swastikas, head 
shaped like a temple, with a toran at the top, and so en- 
could only be made intelligible by sculpture, it was resolved 
to mix up the signs and the paramitas. Thus, the sephiroths 
give physical qualities as well as moral, in that they differ 
from the paramitas. The heavenly man has a dazzling 
" crown," " splendour," " beauty," " white hair," a " long face," 
" firmness," " kingdom " all these are symbols of Purusha. 

Sign I. His head has for crown a raised knob. It is con 
fessed in many Buddhist writings that the conventional 
Buddha s head represents a chaitya ; so this raised knob is the 
most lofty of symbols. It is the toran, the heaven of the 
transcendental Buddha. 

Sign 4. Wool (urna) appears between his eyebrows, white 
as snow and sparkling like silver. 


Sign 17. His skin glitters like burnished gold. 

Sign 20. His trunk is firm as the banyan tree. 

Sign 31. On the sole of each foot is the impress of the 
wheel of a thousand spokes. This is the symbol of " king 
dom," of universal dominion. No. 38 of the Minor Signs 
announces that from him issues a pure light which dispels the 

I will cite here a passage from the first chapter of the 
Apocalypse, when St. John, apparently in a Christian temple 
on " the Lord s day," hears a voice 

" And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And 
being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks ; And in the 
midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, 
clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the 
paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white 
like wool, as white as snow ; and his eyes were as a flame of 
fire ; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a 
furnace ; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And 
he had in his right hand seven stars : and out of his mouth 
went a sharp two-edged sword : and his countenance was as 
the sun shineth in his strength." 

The hands of Buddha are said to be " like copper," and 
the feet of the mystic Alpha and Omega are " like brass." 
Do both descriptions refer to the conventional effigies of each ? 
Both, too, have a lambent coruscation, and hair like white 
wool. The coincidence is remarkable. The Buddhist initiate 
is called Arahat, the "Aged," the "Venerable." 

Let us now consider the arguments brought forward to 
impugn the antiquity of the " Sohar." 

i. The wife and daughter of one Moses de Leon, who died 
at Arevelo, in Spain, A.D. 1305, positively declared that the 
said Moses had " confessed to them that he had composed the 
Sohar from his own head, and that he wrote it with his own 
hand." They were promised by a rich man, named Joseph 
de Avila, a large sum of money if they could produce an 
ancient manuscript of which Moses de Leon had boasted. 
This was their reply. 1 

1 Ginsburg, p. 91. 


2. The " Sohar " contains whole passages translated by 
Moses de Leon from his other works. 

3. The doctrine of En Soph and the ten Sephiroth is 
asserted by Dr. Ginsburg to have been unknown before the 
thirteenth century. To this he adds, oddly enough, the " doc 
trine of metempsychosean retribution." 

4. The " Sohar " alludes to very modern events a " comet 
that appeared in Rome, July 25, 1264;" the "Crusades and 
Crusaders ; " the " descendants of Ishmael, or the Moham 
medans." It mystically explains the Hebrew vowel-points, 
which were unknown before A.D. 570. It steals two verses 
from a writer who was not born until A.D. IO2I. 1 

5. A fifth objection might be here stated. It is affirmed 
by Franck that the "Sohar" is written in a Hebrew that is 
not the archaic Hebrew that Rabbi Ben Jochai would have 
used. It is a form of Hebrew known to scholars as the 
" dialect of Jerusalem." It disappeared about the sixth cen 
tury A.D. This form of Hebrew is, however, utterly unlike 
the Hebrew of the thirteenth century. 

Now, I appeal to Dr. Ginsburg. Is it not plain, on the 
very surface, that these objections are internecine ? A scholar 
has wit enough to compose a work that contains the sub 
limated essence of the three greatest creeds that the world 
has seen the religions of Moses, Buddha, and Christ. With 
unrivalled sympathy and insight, he can put forth the postu 
lates of the higher Christianity in such a manner that numbers 
of Jews, on reading the work, became converts. And yet the 
same man is represented as being dense enough to clumsily 
allude to " Crusaders," " Roman comets," " Mohammedans," 
etc. Are not these rather the sort of accretions that come 
to a genuine manuscript after a long voyage, like barnacles to 
a ship ? Then, too, if this unrivalled scholar is capable of the 
unparalleled feat of writing reams upon reams of manuscript 
in the accurate Hebrew of the sixth century A.D., the question 
arises, why did he select the sixth century Hebrew, and not 
the Hebrew of some ten, or at least five, centuries before ? 
To such a scholar one feat would have been as easy as the 

1 Ginsburg, " The Kabbalah," p. 85, et seq. 



other ; and his cheat required, perforce, the most archaic 
Hebrew possible. 

I think, too, that his alleged citations from his own works 
are capable of a different construction. A genius of the 
pattern that we have described would certainly have avoided 
so clumsy a blunder ; but a poor cheat, who had access to a 
secret manuscript, might have stolen some of its ideas and 
found himself unable to conceal his theft. Dr. Ginsburg s 
theory is that Moses de Leon, for the hope of a few doubloons, 
worked out his colossal forgery in many rambling books. 
But are not means and end entirely incommensurate ? At 
the end of his colossal labour, what certainty would he have 
of any doubloons at all ? Franck accentuates this difficulty. 

He points out, moreover, that the Rabbi Guedelia affirmed 
that Moses ben Nachman found the manuscript in Palestine, 
and sent it to Spain, where Moses de Leon saw it. 

Franck points out other difficulties in the way of the 
theory that the " Sohar " is the original composition of Moses 
de Leon. 

1. There is no trace in it of the philosophy of Aristotle, 
so rampant in the thirteenth century. 1 

2. There is no trace of Christ and Christianity. 2 

3. An examination of its style, want of unity, etc., makes 
it impossible to set it down as the work of one man. 3 

4. More than a century after its publication in Spain, 
certain Jews still handed down the bulk of the ideas contained 
in it by oral tradition. 4 

5. The discovery of the " Codex Nasarseus " sets at rest the 
question whether the ideas and philosophy of the " Sohar " 
were in existence in ancient Palestine. 5 

"But why," says Franck, "should we glean laboriously, 
a few scattered hints in the Acts of the Apostles and in the 
hymns of St. Ephrem, when we can fill our hands from a 
monument of great price recently published in a Syriac text, 
and translated by a learned Orientalist. We speak of the 
Codex Nasarseus, that Bible of purely oriental gnosticism. 

1 See Franck, " La Kabbale," p. 93. 2 Ibid., p. 106. 

3 Ibid., p. 107. 4 Ibid., p. 123. 6 Ibid., p. 133. 


It is well known that St. Jerome and St. Epiphanius trace up 
the sect of the Nazarenes to the birth of Christianity. Well, 
such is the similarity of a great number of its dogmas, and 
the most essential points of the system of the Kabbalah/ 
that in reading them in the work cited, we fancy that we have 
come across a stray variorum manuscript of the Sohar. 
God always figures as the King and the Master of * Light 
He is Himself Pure Splendour, the Eternal and Infinite 
Light. He is Beauty, Life/ Justice/ and Pity. From 
Him emanate all forms that we see in the world. He is the 
Creator and Artisan. But His proper wisdom is His own 
essence. None know them. All creatures ask each other 
what is His name, and are compelled to reply that He has 
none. The King of Light, of that infinite light that has no 
name that can be evoked, no nature that can be known. Only 
with a pure heart can one attain to that light, a just soul and 
a faith abounding in love." 1 

" The gradation by which the Nazarene teaching descends 
from the Supreme Being to the extreme limits of creation 
is exactly the same as in a passage of the Sohar already 
quoted more than once in this work. The djins, the kings 
and the creatures, with prayer and hymn celebrate the 
supreme king of the light from whom issue five miraculous 
rays. The first is the light which lights every being. The 
second is the soft breath of life. The third is the gentle 
voice with which they breathe forth their gladness. The 
fourth is the word which instructs them and trains them to 
bear witness to the faith. The fifth is the type of all the 
forms under which they develop, as fruits grow ripe when 
warmed by the sun." 2 

"It is impossible," pursues the French scholar, "not to 
recognize in these lines, to which we had restricted ourselves 
in our translation, the different degrees of existence set forth 
by the Kabbalists by thought, breath, or soul, voice or the 
word. Here are other familiar images that express the same 

" Before all creatures was the Life. It was hidden within 

1 "Codex Nas.," i. p. 11. 2 Ibid., p. 9. 


itself; Life eternal and incomprehensible, without light, with 
out form. From its bosom was born the luminous atmosphere 
(Ajar zivo), called also the Word, the Garment, or the sym 
bolical river which represents Wisdom. From this river 
issue the living waters which the Nazarines and Kabbalists 
represent as the third manifestation of God. It is intelli 
gence or spirit which in its turn produces the second life, a 
conception far removed from the first This second life is 
called Juschamin, the region of forms, of ideas, in the bosom 
of which was conceived first of all the idea of the creation of 
which it is the loftiest and purest type. The second life by- 
and-by parented the third life, also called the Good Father, 
the Unknown Old Man, the Ancient of the World. The 
Good Father having inspected the abyss, the darkness, and 
the black waters, left there his image which, under the name 
of Fetahil, became the demiurge or architect of the universe. 
Then begins an interminable series of aeons, a hierarchy both 
infernal and celestial which has no further interest for us. 
Sufficient that these three lives, these three grades in the 
Pleroma hold the same position as the three Kabbalistic 
" faces," whose very name (farsufo) is found in the language 
of this sect ; and we can be the more confident of this inter 
pretation since we meet with them also the ten sephiroth 
divided as in the " Sohar " into three superior and seven inferior 
attributes. As the singular accident that caused the birth of 
the demiurge and the generation more or less imperfect of 
the subaltern spirits they are the mythological expression 
of this idea, also very clearly laid down in the Codex Nasa- 
rseus that darkness and evil are nothing more than the 
gradual weakening of the divine light." l 

Franck holds that the " Sohar " is neither borrowed from 
Plato nor the Alexandrian school of Philo, but is anterior to 
both. 2 The question of the profound and accurate Buddhism 
of the work has not been touched on. In the almost total 
paralysis of Oriental studies in the thirteenth century how 
could a Spaniard know all about the ten paramitas, and the 
thirty-two lakshanas? The Portuguese Ribeyro as late as 

1 " Codex Nas.," p. 21 1. 2 Page 388. 



1701 announces in his " History of Ceylon" that Buddha is 
St. Thomas. 

In our next chapter we have to treat of a very important 
character, whose advent, according to the Christ of St. Luke, 
put an end to the law and the prophets. 

( 99 ) 


The Baptist " The People prepared for the Lord "Were they Essenes ? 
6 Nafapa?os Nazarites or Sabeans The Book of Adam. 


I WILL write down a few texts about John 

" But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias : for 
thy prayer is heard ; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee 
a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt 
have joy and gladness ; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink 
neither wine nor strong drink ; and he shall be filled with the 
Holy Ghost, even from his mother s womb. And many of 
the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 
And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, 
to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the dis 
obedient to the wisdom of the just ; to make ready a people 
prepared for the Lord" (Luke i. 13-17). 

" The Word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias 
in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about 
Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission 
of sins ; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias 
the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. 
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall 
be brought low ; and the crooked shall be made straight, and 
the rough ways shall be made smooth ; and all flesh shall 
see the salvation of God. Then he said to the multitude 
[ Pharisees and Sadducees, according to Matthew] that came 
forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath 


warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth 
therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say 
within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father : for I say 
unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children 
unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root 
of the trees : every tree therefore which bringeth not forth 
good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the 
people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He 
answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let 
him impart to him that hath none ; and he that hath meat, 
let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be bap 
tized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do ? And he 
said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed 
you. And the soldiers likewise demanded qf him, saying, 
And what shall we do ? And he said unto them, Do violence 
to no man, neither accuse any falsely ; and be content with 
your wages" (Luke iii. 2-14). 

"And all the people that heard him, and the publicans 
justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But 
the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against 
themselves, being not baptized of him." 

" For I say unto you, Among those that are born of 
women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist." 
"For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor 
drinking wine ; and ye say, He hath a devil." 

Now, if in this we do not get the portrait of an Essene, it 
is difficult to imagine to what section of the Jews the Baptist 
belonged. He used the rite of baptism which was peculiar to 
the Essenes. He ordered a partition of clothes and neces 
saries. He abstained from wine and "soft raiment." He 
strongly assailed the Pharisees and Sadducees, that is, all 
Israel except the Essenes. They rejected his baptism, and 
accused him of detnonology, the favourite indictment of 
anti-mystical versus mystical Israel. Moreover, the Baptist 
is stated to have reached the eighth or crowning Essene state 
of spiritual advancement, the " spirit and power of Elias." 

Another point is of the highest importance. The scene 
of his ministry was the stony "wilderness," the arid moun- 


tain region that stretches from Jerusalem to the Quarantania 
mountain, and from the Quarantania to En-Gedi. Now this, 
according to Pliny the elder, was the very spot where the bulk 
of the Essenes was to be found. Their numbers in his day 
were enormous. Josephus fixes these numbers at four thou 
sand souls. We learn of John, too, that his followers were 
multitudes, in fact a whole " people prepared for the Lord." 

Thus, on the hypothesis that John was not an Essene, 
there must have been two large groups of Israelites inde 
pendently dwelling in a mountainous waste which was of all 
spots in Palestine the least fitted for the sustenance of a 
crowd. Both were using, moreover, the same rites. How is 
it that the second vast group has been completely ignored by 
the writers who have chronicled the deeds of John and his 
disciples the Nazarenes ? 

But, before we go further, we must consider the term 
Nazarene or Nazarite. Christ, in the inscription on the cross, 
was called "The Nazarite" (6 Na^atoc, Luke iv. 31). The 
Church of Jerusalem was called the Church of the Nazarenes, 
or Nazarites. It is the only name for Christians mentioned 
in the Acts. 1 The followers of John the Baptist were called 
Nazarites or Nazarenes, and they still exist and are called 
Nazarenes to this day. The Essenes, according to Epipha- 
nius, were called Nazarines or Nazoraeans. 2 

Calmet s Dictionary makes the words " Nazarene " and 
" Nazarite " identical, and so does Tertullian. Speaking of 
the Christians he says, " For we are they of whom it is 
written, Their Nazarites were whiter than snow." 3 

The Nazarite in old Israel was the prophet, the mystic. 
The root word is nazir, and it signifies "separation." The 
true Nazarite, like the prophet Samuel, was separated to the 
Lord from his mother s womb. He made a vow to let his 
hair grow like the Indian yogi. He made a vow to abstain 
from wine. This vow, in the case of the real Nazarite, was 
for life. Jeremiah (Lam. iv. 7) uses the word as synonymous 
with the prophets of Israel. " Her Nazarites were purer than 

1 Acts xxiv. 5. 2 " Adv. Haer.," xi. 29. 

3 V. Marcion, cap. viii. p. 196. 


snow." Amos does the same : " I raised up of your sons for 
prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites" (Amos ii. n). 

There is a popular theory amongst English divines that 
Christ was called 6 Na^wpaioz, the Nazarite, or as we translate 
it, "Jesus of Nazareth," because, according to Matthew (ii. 23), 
he stayed for a short time at Nazareth with his parents on 
his return from Egypt ; but Pilate, in writing up Christ s 
offence upon the cross, would scarcely have taken this small 
event of His life into consideration. He intended most 
probably to write up that Jesus was the anointed leader of 
the Nazarites. So fearful was the importance of the great 
mystical movement in Palestine in the view of the dominant 
party, that all devout Jews were required to utter the following 
curse three times a day 

" Send thy curse, O God, upon the Nazarenes." J 

But when Israel began to slaughter prophets instead of 
listening to them, the Nazarite from a reality became a sham. 
The form remained, and it was customary on certain occasions 
for a pious Jew to let his hair grow and to abstain from wine 
for a week. He was not, of course, a real prophet. The 
Tree of Deborah with its mystical dreams had been cut down 
by the priest. 

Let us examine a little more carefully the picture of the 
Nazarenes given to us in the recently recovered "Book of 
Adam," which Franck considers so invaluable. They are also 
called Sabeans and Mandaites. I make use of the version by 
Norberg, translated by F. Tempestini. 2 

The Nazarenes, or Disciples of John, believed in an " inert 
God," who remained quiescent and concealed in the " black 
waters." He is also called the Self-existent (p. 71). 

They divided space into Fira (ethereal spirit substance, 
the Buthos of the Gnostics) and Ayar (the Pleroma). From 
the inert God dwelling in Fira emanated Mana, the " Lord of 
Glory," the " King of Light," and Youra, the " Lord of Light." 
The word Mana has puzzled Hebrew scholars. It signifies 
a "vase." Is it an accidental circumstance that the first 

1 Jerome, cited by Riddle, " Christian Antiquities," p. 135. 

2 Migne, " Diet, des Apocryphes," vol. i. p. 2. 


emanation of Adi Buddha is called Manas in India ? The 
Sanskrit word Manas is equivalent to the Greek word Nous. 
The divine beings Manas, Mana, and Nous, are identical. 
They represent the inert God in his active form. 

The Nazarenes held that Mana produced millions of 
Manas, peopling space with many starry systems, and Fira 
millions of Firas and Schekintas. Schekinta is a form of 
the word Shechinah, and signifies "divine majesty rendered 
present and living with men " (p. 69). 

" All these stand up and praise Mana, the Lord of Glory, 
dwelling in Ayar." 

Important amongst the creations of Mana ; the Lord of 
Glory, was a heavenly Jordan planted with immortal trees 
(p. 68). This Jordan produced millions of other Jordans. 
For the benefit of the " Nazarenes of the world " was also 
instituted the great "Baptism of Light," (pp. 39, 121), called 
also the " Baptism of the First Life " (p. 59), the various pre 
sentments of God being likewise called the " First Life," the 
" Second Life," and so on. 

It is recorded in the " Book of Adam " that Fetahil, a 
subordinate spirit of light, formed a project to bridge earth 
and heaven with a mighty bridge. In this he was opposed 
by the Touros, the giant spirits of darkness (p. 82). The 
institution of the Nazarenes was plainly this bridge. They 
proposed to bring a " Kingdom of Light " (p. 64) down to the 
dull dark earth. The denizens of this Kingdom of Light 
were clothed in white, like the Essenes (p. 39). They were 
" Apostles of Righteousness." 

They had the " seal of the Father." They warred with 
" arms not made of steel." They were " the Elect," the 
Illuminati. To the humble Nazarenes it was given to know 
the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. 

" Revealer, who makest known the inmost secrets, have 
mercy on us," says one of their invocations (p. 63). 

I will write down a few texts from this bible of pre- 
Christian Christianity 

" Blessed are the peaceful " (p. 24). 

" Blessed are the just, the peacemakers, and the faithful." 


" Blessed are the peacemakers that abstain from evil " 

(P. 6 4 ). 

" Desire not gold nor silver, nor the riches of the world. 
For this world will perish, and all its riches." 

" Bow not down to Satan, nor to idols and graven images " 

(p. 31). 

" When thou makest a gift, O chosen one, seek no witness 
thereof to mar thy bounty. He who collects witnesses of his 
almsgiving loses his merit. Let thy right hand be ignorant 
of the gifts of thy left " (p. 32). 

"Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the 
naked ; for he who gives will receive abundantly" (p. 32). 

" Submit yourselves to the powers " (p. 66). 

Here is a description of the city of light in the clouds 

" The mercy and goodness and majesty of the King of 
Light cannot be fathomed. None can know these things 
save the life that is within thee, and the spirits and messengers 
that gird thee around. 

" Thy creatures they know not even thy name. 

" The kings of light ask one another, What is the name of 
the Great Light ? They answer, He has no name. 

" His throne is stable, like the throne of the Most High. 
It is stablished from generation to generation. 

" No poor sculptor of earth has fashioned this throne. 
The palace of the king was not built up by earthly masons. 
Immovable he dwells in a city of diamonds, a city without 
discord and broils. 

" In that city are no butchers, nor gluttons surcharged 
with meat. It knows not the wine of wantonness nor the 
songs of riot. 

" Its vesture is spotless, and its crown eternal. The tears 
of weeping women disturb it not. 

" No corpses are seen in its streets, nor war, nor warriors. 
The King of Light gives of his own pure joy to all his 

" Monarch of angels and kings, wearing upon his brow 
a mighty crown, he rules every being by his sweetness and 
power " (p. 26). 


This is how the Nazarenes attacked orthodox Mosaism 

" Then will appear that ignoble nation which will slaughter 
fat offerings and make God s sanctuary swim in blood. It 
will commit wicked acts and call itself the People of the 
House of Israel It will circumcise with a bloody sword, and 
smear its face and lips with gore. Its sons will burn with 
infamous lust, perverting the faith. I say to the chosen ones, 
My disciples, peacemakers, and faithful, who live in these 
days, follow not their example. Shun their feasts and avoid 
their drinks; marry not their daughters. A generation of 
slaves and adulterers, instead of honouring the Most High, 
they will discard Moses, the prophet of the Holy Ghost, who 
gave them the Law, and dishonour Abraham, that other 
prophet of God. . . . 

" I, the first of Apostles, tell all the sons of Adam who 
have been, or will be, born into the world, shun the speech of 
these angels of apostasy. They are able to render apostate 
the sons of men, creating the pride of gold and silver, of 
treasure and possessions, the lust of false appearances, and 
illusive shows. 

" Their sons will take up arms and engage in the agonies 
of strife. They will say, fear us, adore us, set up altars in 
our midst. They will wear the cloak of hypocrisy, and make 
a pretence of fasting and of deeds of bounty. . . . 

" Put on your stoles and white garments, O peacemakers, 
symbols of the water of life. Put on your heads white crowns, 
like the crowns of glory of heaven s angels. . . . 

" You who are peacemakers say not, This is hidden, and 
this is unknown. Say not that to the Most High alone is 
known the mysteries. He has revealed them to you. Take 
up arms not of steel, but of more worthy metal, the weapons 
of faith and justice, the weapons of the Nazarene " (pp. 54, 55). 

The following passages throw some light on the rites of 
the peacemakers : 

" Listen to my words, O chosen ones. Observe the great 
fast, that fast which contemns the food and drink of this 
mortal world. 

"When thou eatest, or drinkest, or sleepest, or restest, in 


all things strive to exalt the Name of the great King of Light, 
and hasten to the Jordan to receive His baptism." 

" Give bread, water, and a home, to him who is tormented 
by the tyranny of persecution " (p. 35). 

" Assemble the faithful. Read to them the scriptures. 
Pray to the Lord for His mercy, that His splendour may go 
before and his light follow after. Say to the chosen ones the 
soft words that I have spoken to thee, and give them the 
hymn that I have inspired" (p. 35). 


Jesus and the Baptist Great importance of the Baptism of Jesus Initia 
tion of Early Christians Buddha s Baptism, Fasting, and Temp 


WE now come to the adult Jesus. The first prominent 
fact of His life is His baptism by John. If John was an 
Essene the full meaning of this may be learnt from Josephus 
" To one that aims at entering their sect, admission is not 
immediate ; but he remains a whole year outside it, and is 
subjected to their rule of life, being invested with an axe, the 
girdle aforesaid, and a white garment. Provided that over 
this space of time he has given proof of his perseverance, he 
approaches nearer to this course of life, and partakes of the 
holier waters of cleansing ; but he is not admitted to their 
community of life. Following the proof of his strength of 
control, his moral conduct is tested for two years more ; and 
when he has made clear his worthiness, he is thus adjudged 
to be of their number. But before he touches the common 
meal, he pledges to them, in oaths to make one shudder, 
first that he will reverence the Divine Being, and, secondly, 
that he will abide in justice unto men, and will injure no one, 
either of his own accord or by command, but will always 
detest the iniquitous, and strive on the side of the righteous ; 
that he will ever show fidelity to all, and most of all to those 
who are in power, for to no one comes rule without God ; and 
that, if he become a ruler himself, he will never carry inso 
lence into his authority, or outshine those placed under him 
by dress or any superior adornment ; that he will always love 
truth, and press forward to convict those that tell lies ; that 


he will keep his hands from peculation, and his soul pure from 
unholy gain ; that he will neither conceal anything from the 
brethren of his order, nor babble to others any of their secrets, 
even though in the presence of force, and at the hazard of his 
life. In addition to all this, they take oath not to communi 
cate the doctrines to any one in any other way than as 
imparted to themselves ; to abstain from robbery, and to keep 
close, with equal care, the books of their sect and the names 
of the angels. Such are the oaths by which they receive 
those that join them " (Josephus, De B. J., II. 8, 2, 13). 

As a pendant to this, I will give the early Christian 
initiation from the Clementine " Homilies." 

" If any one having been tested is found worthy, then 
hand over to him according to the initiation of Moses, by 
which he delivered his books to the Seventy who succeeded 
to his chair." 

These books are only to be delivered to " one who is good 
and religious, and who wishes to teach, and who is circumcised 
and faithful." 

"Wherefore let him be proved not less than six years, 
and then, according to the initiation of Moses, he (the initiator) 
should bring him to a river or fountain, which is living water, 
where the regeneration of the righteous takes place." The 
novice then calls to witness heaven, earth, water, and air, that 
he will keep secret the teachings of these holy books, and 
guard them from falling into profane hands, under the penalty 
of becoming " accursed, living and dying, and being punished 
with everlasting punishment." 

" After this let him partake of bread and salt with him 
who commits them to him." 1 

Now if, as is so widely believed in England, the chief 
object of Christ s mission was to stablish for ever the 
Mosaism of the bloody altar, and combat the main teaching 
of the aaicrjrfc, or mystic, which " postulates the false principle 
of the malignity of matter," why did He go to an ao-jajr//? 
to be baptized ? Whether or not Christ belonged to mystical 
Israel, there can be no discussion about the Baptist. He was 

1 Clem., " Homilies," ch. 3, 4, 5. 


a Nazarite "separated from his mother s womb," who had in 
duced a whole " people " to come out to the desert and adopt 
the Essene rites and their community of goods. And we see, 
from a comparison of the Essene and early Christian initia 
tions, what such baptism carried with it. It implied pre 
liminary instruction and vows of implicit obedience to the 

Continuing our parallelism between the lives of Christ 
and Buddha, we will now show that he, too, had his baptism, 
fasting, and temptation. We will turn to the Buddhist 
narrative, which may here throw light on the Christian 

The first temptation of Buddha was at the great gate of 
the Palace of Summer. Suddenly Mara, the very wicked 
one, appeared in the air and called out to the prince 

" Prince Siddharta, do not lead the life of a yogi. In seven 
days time you shall be a universal monarch, ruling the four 
great continents. Return to the palace." 

Buddha refused nobly ; but, by the magic influence of the 
wicked one, he harboured a strong inclination to look once 
more on the city of his father. He combated this fancy ; when 
lo, and behold, by a mighty miracle, Mara the tempter caused 
the earth to pivot round " like the wheel of a potter." Sud 
denly the sad eyes of Buddha fell on the tall towers and 
brilliant lamps of the great city sleeping in the moonlight. 
The young man hesitated, and then rode on 1 in the direction 
of Vaisali. 

In the morning he reached the Anoma (modern Aumi) 
River below Sangrampura. At this point the god Indra, 
disguised as a hunter, induced him to take off his emeralds 
and silks and put on a hermit s dress. The prince cut off 
his flowing locks with his own sword. He sent back the 
charioteer and the good horse Kantaka. Each of these in 
cidents was afterwards commemorated by a chaitya at the 
spot. They meant, of course, that Buddha s guru, personify 
ing Indra, had made Buddha go through the customary 
initiation, the tonsure, vows of poverty, etc. 

1 Bigandet, " Burmese Life," p. 65. 


Leaving the Anoma, which is a branch of the modern 
Raptee, the prince made his first real halt at Vaisali (the 
modern Besarh), a spot about twenty miles north of Patna. 
Here he found a number of yogis undergoing their initiation 
in yoga-vidya, or white magic, in a forest. 

In this wood, Buddha commenced what the " Lalita Vis- 
tara " calls the " ecstatic meditation on Brahma and his world." 
But to obtain yoga, or the mystic union with Brahma, the 
novice must become a servant-pupil of some eminent adept 
(Brahmajnani). At Vaisali was a holy man, Arata Kalama, 
and Buddha said to him, " By thee, O Arata Kalama, must I 
be initiated into the condition of a seeker of Brahma (Brahma- 

For six years Buddha sat cross-legged, seeking to obtain 
the visions of the higher Buddhism and the magical faculties 
which by all old mystics were considered a guarantee that 
the visions were genuine. He stopped his respiration, says 
the narrative, and got to eat only one grain of the jujube-tree 
per diem. 

These practices began by-and-by to reduce the prince to 
a mere mass of dried skin and bone. The villagers thought 
he was dying. In the Chinese version it is recorded that he 
fasted forty-seven days and nights without taking an atom 
of food. When he was in these straits, Mara appeared before 
him with a second temptation. He urged him to save his 
life by breaking his long fast and eating food 

" Sweet creature," said the tempter, in dulcet tones, " you 
are at the hour of death. Sacrifice food, and eat a portion of 
it to save your life." 

The reply of Buddha is a fine one 

" Death, demon, is the inevitable end of life. Why should 
I dream of avoiding death ? Who falls in battle is noble. 
Who is conquered is as good as dead. Demon, soon I shall 
triumph over thee. Lust is thy first army, ennui thy second, 
hunger and thirst are thy third army. Passions and idleness 
and fear and rage and hypocrisy are amongst thy soldiers, 
backbitings, flatteries, false renown, these are thy inky allies, 
soldiers of a chief whose doom is near." 


It is to be observed how close all this is to the two temp 
tations of Christ the appeal to hunger and the magical view 
of the glorious material Jerusalem. 

A third temptation is with the daughters of Mara, dis 
guised as beautiful women. Then Mara again accosts 

" I am the lord of desire ; I am the master of this entire 
world. Gods and men and beasts have all fallen into my 
power. Thou art in my domain. I charge thee, leave that 
tree and speak to me ! " 

" If thou art the lord of appetite," replies Buddha, " thou 
art not the prince of light. I am the lord of the kingdom of 
righteousness. Forsake the way of evil." 

"Ascetic," said the wicked one, "what you seek is not 
easy to attain. Bhrigu and Angiras by many austerities 
sought emancipation and failed to find it." 

Bhrigu and Angiras were two of the seven Rishis of the 

The wicked one draws a sword from its scabbard, and 
thunders out in a menacing voice, " Rise up as I order. Obey 
me, or like a green reed thou shalt be cut in pieces." 

At the same time the spirits of darkness hurl mountains 
and flames and mighty trees at Buddha. Globes of fire dart 
through the air, and huge masses of iron, and terrible javelins 
tipped with a deadly poison. From the four corners of heaven 
the turmoil rages, and huge monsters are summoned from the 
vast abyss beneath the earth. 

With majestic calmness, Buddha views all these demon 
hostilities as a sickly dream, as illusion. By the aid of his 
guardians of the unseen world, the bolts launched against him 
are turned into beautiful flowers. 

In the most solemn manner, Buddha then calls to Brahma 
Prajapati, lord of creatures, and to his heavenly host, and to 
"all the Buddhas that live at the ten horizons." He smites 
the ground, and earth reverberates like a huge vessel of brass, 
His prayer is, " Disperse this inky crew ! " 

Immediately the horses and chariots and elephants of the 
demon army are tumbled into the mud and the mighty warriors 


dispersed. They fly like birds before a blazing forest. The 
Wicked One himself becomes haggard, immensely aged, 
depressed, overcome. A spirit of the immortal tree takes 
compassion upon him, and restores him with consecrated 

" Because I refused to listen to the wise words of my sons, 
and opposed this pure being, misery has been my lot, and 
fear and humiliation. Cursings and contempt have come 
upon me by mine own seeking." 

When Buddha was emaciated and almost dead with his 
terrible fastings, a mystic woman, named Sujata, appeared 
upon the scene. She took the milk of a thousand cows ; and 
skimming the cream seven times, she boiled it with rice. It 
was placed in a golden pot, and lo and behold, prodigies the 
outline of the Indian cross (swastika) and Krishna s St. 
Andrew s cross (srivatsa) appeared on the surface. Sujata 
with her slave appeared before the failing devotee, and the 
latter, ashamed of his nakedness in the presence of the young 
girls, dug up the shroud of a slave recently buried. Then 
Buddha accepted the offering. When he had eaten the rice 
milk his body assumed a beauty never known before. From 
that time he was called " the comely sramana (ascetic)." The 
gold pot was thrown into the river ; it floated up the stream 
against the current. A serpent king got possession of it. 

The name of Sujata ("of happy birth") is a very thin 
disguise for the happy birth of the new Adam. She is, of 
course, Dharma or Prajiia, divine wisdom personified as a 
woman. That there may be no mistake about this, a second 
episode in the " Lalita Vistara " brings down Queen Maya 
from heaven to persuade her son to eat food. 

It is said that Buddha after his long fast had his skin 
loose as a camel, that his ribs pierced through his poor skin 
and gave him the aspect of a crab. How could this poor 
emaciated fainting being be called the handsome sramana ? 

In the "Aitareya Brahmana" it is announced that the 
mystic marriage of the rice and milk each day in the temple 
rites was designed to produce a " sacrificial man," a spiritual 
double of the officiating priest, who was able to visit the 


heaven of Indra, and obtain cattle, propitious rain, and so on, 
for the worshippers. This was the exoteric explanation ; but 
the esoteric one is, I think, revealed in a Cingalese book, the 
" Samafma Phala Sutta." Buddha details at considerable 
length the practices of the ascetic, and then enlarges upon 
their exact object. Man has a body composed of the four 
elements. It is the fruit of the union of his father and 
mother. It is nourished on rice and gruel, and may be trun 
cated, crushed, destroyed. In this transitory body his intelli 
gence is enchained. The ascetic finding himself thus confined, 
directs his mind to the creation of a freer integument. He 
represents to himself in thought another body created from 
this material body a body with a form, members, and organs. 
This body, in relation to the material body, is like the sword 
and the scabbard ; or a serpent issuing from a basket in which 
it is confined. The ascetic, then, purified and perfected, com 
mences to practise supernatural faculties. He finds himself 
able to pass through material obstacles, walls, ramparts, etc. ; 
he is able to throw his phantasmal appearance into many 
places at once ; he is able to walk upon the surface of water 
without immersing himself ; he can fly through the air like a 
falcon furnished with large wings ; he can leave this world 
and reach even the heaven of Brahma himself. 

Another faculty is now conquered by his force of will, as 
the fashioner of ivory shapes the tusk of the elephant accord 
ing to his fancy. He acquires the power of hearing the 
sounds of the unseen world as distinctly as those of the 
phenomenal world more distinctly, in point of fact. Also 
by the power of Manas he is able to read the most secret 
thoughts of others, and to tell their characters. He is able to 
say, " There is a mind that is governed by passion. There is 
a man that is enfranchised. This man has noble ends in 
view. This man has no ends in view." As a child sees his 
earrings reflected in the water, and says, " Those are my ear 
rings," so the purified ascetic recognizes the truth. Then 
comes to him the faculty of " divine vision, and he sees all 
that men do on earth and after they die, and when they are 
again reborn. Then he detects the secrets of the universe, 



and why men are unhappy, and how they may cease to 
be so. 

The " Lotus " tells us that " at the moment of death thou 
sands of Buddhas show their faces to the virtuous man." l 
This clairvoyance of Buddhism seems very like the "dis 
cerning of spirits" recorded by St. Paul. Professor Beal 
shows that the aureole, adopted afterwards for saints in the 
Christian religion, proceeded from an idea of the Buddhists 
that the ascetic after practising tapas was supposed to be 
furnished with an actual coruscation on his head. In all 
Buddhist writings the double of Buddha, the " glorified body," 
to use St. Paul s words, is described as being exquisitely 
beautiful. I think the words, " the handsome sramana," must 
allude to this phantasmal appearance, and not to the visible 
body shrivelled and marred by long fastings. 

To reach the abode of Yama the Indian had to cross the 
Vaitarani, the River of Death. This river became with 
Buddhists the Nairanjana, which ran past Buddha s tree. To 
cross this river and reach the " other bank," the heaven of the 
mind, was the object of the Buddhist baptism. Buddha 
plunges into the water. Before plunging in, he exclaims 

" I vow from this moment to deliver the world from the 
thraldom of death and the wicked one ! I will procure sal 
vation for all men, and conduct them to the other shore. " 
But his strength has been so reduced by the penance of six 
years that he cannot reach it. When lo ! a spirit of the tree 
stretches forth a hand and assists him. In the Burmese 
version, the tree itself bends down its branches as at the birth 
of the prince. 

In the "Lalita Vistara," Mara opposes in person, and 
makes the bank grow higher as the prince tries to get out. 
There is a certain significance in an incident of the Burmese 
version. On emerging, Buddha dons for the first time the 
holy yellow dress of the Muni. 

The advantage of the " Lalita Vistara," in my view, is 
that it is a jumble of many schools of Buddhism piled the one 
on the top of the other. Each school has added its quantum 
1 " Lotus," p. 279. 


and left the earlier matter still on its pages. In it Buddha 
bathes in the mystic Jordan of India, the Nairanjana. But a 
second narrative describes the gods and cherubs and nymphs 
of the sky coming down with vases and garlands and fans 
and umbrellas to perform the mystic abhisheka (baptism). 1 
The great dome of heaven, glittering with many stars, is 
described as having become one vast chaitya, 2 or Buddhist 
temple. Vases of water of exquisite perfume are poured 
over the body of Buddha, and all that trickles down is seized 
eagerly by some of the spirits, for has it not touched his 
diamond body ? In the " Gospel of the Infancy " many 
miracles are done with water that has bathed the infant 
Jesus. The time has come to go a little more deeply into the 
ancient mysteries, especially the Buddhist ones. 

1 Page 35 1. 2 p age 349. 



Growth in Spirit symbolized by the Growth of the Food of the People- 
Buddhist Festivals regulated by Rice Culture The Zodiac as a 
Symbol of Stages of Spiritual Progress In Buddhism In Chris 
tianityThe " Monastery of our Lord "Description by Josephus. 

" KEEP the mysteries for Me and the sons of My house " 
(Jesus). 1 

I must begin by pointing out a prominent feature in 

ancient mystic symbolism. The food of the people, its growth 

and culture, was made use of as an image to veil the growth 

and culture of man s spiritual nature. This was a marked 

point in the Mysteries of Osiris in Egypt, and Ceres at 

Eleusis. The grain, the Bread of Life, was buried in a 

"cave" at the spring or Sowing Festival, like Christ and 

Buddha, or in a coffin like lacchus and Osiris. The cave was 

the earth-life. Then at the great Feast of the Pentecost, the 

Varsha or Feast of the Waters in Buddhism, the Bread of 

Life was baptized with heaven s own water. This was the 

period of "Purification," the first of the three great steps 

made by the mystic in spiritual knowledge according to 

Dionysius the Areopagite. This was the Festival of the Lesser 

Mysteries in Greece. It was called sometimes the " Feast of 

Weeks " in Palestine, as it occurred exactly seven weeks after 

the second day of the Feast of the Passover, and symbolized 

the gift of the Law on Sinai and the descent of the Holy 

Ghost in the Christian Church. The Lesser Mysteries with 

early Christians are described by Clement of Alexandria as 

1 Cited in the Clementine " Homilies," xix. 20 ; apparently from the 
" Gospel of the Hebrews." 


taking the form of " catechetical instruction," " preparation " 
etc. They were, according to him, the " milk for babes " in 
contradistinction to the " Gnostic communication," the goal 
and focus of the Greater Mysteries. Then came the great 
festival of the year, the Festival of the Virgin, the Festival of 
Mary, the Festival of the Tree, the Festival of Tabernacles. 
The Bread of Life has come forth from the ground and the 
dark clouds of an Indian rainy season have been followed 
by the bright sun of an Indian September. This is the period 
of the " Illumination " of Dionysius the Areopagite, the Feast 
of Lanterns in Buddhist countries. Finally, at the spring 
festival, whose rites celebrate the dying as well as the new 
year, a mighty rice cake about the size of a footstool is placed 
on the altar. The worship of this is sculptured in all the old 
topes. The pain benit, cross-buns, etc., symbolize the same 
fancy, the perfection of the mystic at the end of the year. 
Easter was, of course, the end of the old year and the beginning 
of the new year in the early Church. 

A comparison of these rites with the times and seasons 
of various lands shows that they fit in admirably with the 
times and seasons of India, and fit in most imperfectly with 
those of Egypt, Greece, and the West, thus suggesting 

India is a vast triangle, flat and torrid. It is admirably 
adapted to the cultivation of rice. From about the middle of 
June to the middle of September there falls an almost inces 
sant deluge. On the volume of this hinges the question 
whether the poor, dark-skinned, cotton-clad vegetarians will 
have abundance in their thatch-roofed mud houses or famine. 
This suggests three great festivals in honour of the great 
Giver of Rice. 

I. The Sowing Festival, the Feast of Flowers. It began 
formerly seven days before the commencement of the new year, 
which latter event took place on the 1st of March. In rice 
cultivation the rice fields have to be flattened and surrounded 
with mud banks to confine the water that falls during the 
rains. This may be the origin of the smoothing of rough 
places at the birth of Buddha. 


2 The Feast of the Waters. In Siam and the South the 
image of Buddha is washed with great pomp, and every holy 
talapoin, or monk, is soused with jars of water by his 
inferiors. The poor folks then scramble for this sacred fluid. 
If they can lap up a drop or two that has touched a holy man 
or an idol they are happy for life. All classes souse and wash 
one another, sometimes with scented water, as in the Indian 
Holi. The two large tanks in Chinese temples, reproduced 
in the large fons or baptisterium of old Christian churches, 
which was ample enough to baptize a crowd at a time, seem 
to point to this rite. The Greek Christians still rush into the 
Jordan on a certain day and splash one another, and sousings 
were known to the Church of the Middle Ages. This is the 
Buddhist Varsha, or Lent ; and the monks preach twice a day 
instead of once a week. During this period the temples are 
thronged, and the offerings very large. But, according to the 
acute Father La Loubere, the cultivation of the material rice 
has more to do with this lenten piety and generosity than the 
cultivation of the rice-milk of immortality. " The rice harvest 
depends upon plentiful rain, and plentiful rain upon piety," 
say the Siamese. 1 

3. The Feast of the Subsidence of the Waters, the Feast 
of the Tree, the Feast of Lanterns. To this day in India 
the Hindoos, headed by their Rajah, go out into the jungle 
and live like the Israelites, in tabernacles and booths of leaves. 
The Rajah goes solemnly to a rice field and plucks a stalk. 
His court scramble for the remainder. It is the season for 
the great illuminations in Buddhist countries, and the tala- 
poins of Siam, as Father La Loubere tells us, go out at this 
season for three weeks, and pass the nights in vigils in little 
huts built of leaves and boughs. Each day they return to 
the temple for a daily service. 2 In Pegu, the night is passed 
in illuminations by all the people, and the great gate of the 
city is thrown open. Thanks are everywhere given to Buddha 
for an abundant harvest. 

1 La Loubere, cited in Picart, vol. vii. pp. 64, 66. See also Purchas on 
the Pegu Festival, p. 37. 

2 Cited by Picart, " Ceremonies, etc.," p. 65. 



[Page 119. 


This gives us the scaffolding of the story of Buddha, and 
of the other Avataras. 

1. For the due cultivation of the food of the people God 
was imaged as that food, and the festivals and the incidents 
during the mystical year that his life was supposed to last, 
arranged to promote that culture. Indeed, those who are 
familiar with the superstitions of the rice culture still existing 
in modern Ceylon, and the elaborate incantations performed 
for an auspicious day to turn the first sod, to soak the rice, to 
sow it, to charm away the rice grubs, to slaughter the rice 
flies, to obtain fruitful rain, and at last to reap it, would think 
that religion was at first the chief branch of agriculture. 1 

2. A man becoming at last one with God imaged as the 
kosmos is painted for the mystics, and the zodiac used to 
mark the stages of his spiritual progress. 

This I learnt first from the life of Buddha. It is recorded 
in the "Lalita Vistara," 2 that the star Pushya (S of Cancer) was 
shining when he entered his mother s womb. This means, of 
course, that when Pushya rises in the sky the Celestial 
Elephant (Capricorn) enters the womb of Earth, the mighty 
mother. The spring festival, with its ploughing and sowing, 
is selected for the time of his birth ; his horse, Kantaka, is 
born at the same moment, because the symbol for Aries is 
the horse. The first three months lumped together may be 
classed under the sign of the Indian twins, who are repre 
sented as a naked young man and woman, and docketed with 
a coarse name. Buddha is in the earth-life, in the palace 
with the seven moats, in the kama loka, or domain of 
.appetite, pure and simple. We have the carnal marriage of 
the mystic as distinguished from the marriage of the lamb. 

The period terminates with the Indian Olympia, when 
Krishna, Buddha, and Rama win each a bride at a great 
archery or wrestling competition. 

When the Twins dominate the sky the Bow (Sagittarius) 
is shining at midnight. 

But when we view the year as symbolizing the life of 

1 See Mr. Le Mesurier s paper in vol. xvii. p. 3, Journ. As. Soc. 
2 Page6i. 


a mystic, this festival is of immense importance, for it was 
the festival of what the ancients called the " Lesser Mysteries." 

See how the signs of the zodiac now prepare us for the 
" Greater Mysteries," at the crucial festival of the Tree (Virgo). 
With Cancer commences the gnawing away of animalism. 

The Buddhist Virgo is often represented by a tree ; which 
explains the " lion throne " (Leo), round the " tree of know 
ledge " that Buddha sat under, a tree on which the pearl 
Mani (the Balance) glistened. Here commences the great 
fight of the dreaming mystic with Mara (Scorpio) conquered 
at length with the bow of Indra the conqueror (Sagittarius). 
In the Indian religion, this was called the state of Indra the 
Jina (the conqueror). " To him that overcometh will I give 
a crown of life," says the Apocalypse. 

Buddha then attains the " elephant called Bodhi " (gnosis), 
as the " Lalita Vistara," calls it, the elephant being the 
symbol of occult wisdom. A mystic maiden then gives him 
a vase of amrita, or immortal food (Aquarius). Finally, the 
mystic reaches the sign called Dharma Chakra. This, with 
Brahmin heroes, was the " Quoit of Death," that never failed 
in its terrible flight. With Buddhists, it became the " Wheel 
of the Law," the Zodiac of Dharma, our mystic mother. 
Without any disguise, the spiritual adept was called Chakra- 
vartin (he who has turned through the zodiac). 

Here we have the key of what St. Paul calls the "hidden 
wisdom." It was based on the text, " And God made man 
after His own image." To work this out, man had to become 
one with God s starry tabernacle. The Essenes, at the highest 
initiation, had to become "Temples of the Holy Ghost," and 
Christians were long called " Temples of God." 

The mystic gate through which the soul passes from 
darkness to light is the " Porte Noire " of the Chinese 
Buddhist, Hwen Thsang. In the Mahabharata are passages 
describing a gate of a city of cloudland, over which the bird 
Garuda broods. With the masons it is the royal arch, with 
the two mystic columns, Jachin and Boaz. Madame Guyon 
and the Christian mystics saw at once that it was the " open 
door " of Rev. iii. 8, only to be unlocked by the " Key of 


David " (probably the looped cross carried by all Egyptian 
initiates into the realms of Osiris). 

I will write down, from the Catholic Prayer-book, a few 
sentences of the " Litany of the Blessed Virgin." 

" Holy Mother of God ! " " Mother of Christ ! " " Gate of 
Heaven ! " " Chalice of the Spirit ! " " Mystical Rose ! " 
" Tower of Ivory ! " " Mirror of Justice ! " " Seat of 
Wisdom ! " 

To these I will add a part of the hymn of incense from 
an older Christian ritual, that of the Armenian Church. 

" Triumph and rejoice, O Sion, daughter of Light, Universal 
Mother with thy children. Don thy raiment and jewels, 
August Bride, Shining Tabernacle of Light, an image of 
Heaven ; because the Anointed God, the Being of Beings, 
sacrifices himself for thee without being consumed. To 
reconcile us to the father, and to expiate our sins, he dis 
tributes his flesh and blood. By virtue of this sacrifice, 
pardon him who built this temple. 

"The Holy Church recognizes and confesses the pure 
Virgin Mary as Mother of God, by whom has been given to 
us the bread of life and the consoling cup. Bless her in a 
spiritual song." (" Hymn of Incense," p. 17.) 

This is another hymn from the same ritual 

" Mother of faith, holy assembly of thousands, 
Sublime nuptial bed, 
Of the house of the immortal Spouse, 
Who decks thee from eternity. 
Thou art a second wondrous heaven, 
Springing from glory to glory. 

Like rays of light thou bearest us in thy great womb 
In the birth of baptism. 
Thou givest us the purifying bread ; 
Thou givest us the blood revered ; 
Rank over rank, thou raisest those aloft 
Who little understand these things. 
The ancient tabernacle is thy type. 
Thy new tabernacle is far above the old ; 
It has broken the gates of diamond, 
And thou hast broken the gates of hell. 

We see here the Universal Mother, as the Armenian 



ritual calls her, play the same part as she does in Buddhist 
mysticism. She is the "Gate of Heaven," separating the 
Golden Jerusalem from Babylon, the Tabernacle of Light 
from the Tabernacle of Darkness. She is "Wisdom," the 
palm tree, by En Gaddi, that gives forth " a sweet smell like 
cinnamon and aspalathus " (Eccl. xxiv.). " To him that over- 
cometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the 
midst of the Paradise of God," 1 said the mystic Alpha and 

Here she is as the corn-sheaf (Virgo), surmounted by the 
dove (Libra), separating the two 
halves of the zodiac, symbolized by 
Leo and the old serpent. This is 
from Smith s " Christian Antiquities." 
From Martigny s "Antiquites Chre- 
tiennes " (Fig. 9), we get her between 
the green tree and the dry, the words 
of Christ used to denote the two trees 

of the Kabbalah, the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. 

These also symbolize the 
black and white halves of 
the zodiac. Zodiacal amu 
lets (Fig. 10) were known to 
the early Christians. 2 The 
scales, the Lion of Judah, 
the cup (Aquarius), the 
horse and lamb (Aries), are 
on all the monuments, and 
Christ is sometimes drawn 
as the archer. The Apo 
calypse has the " Woman " 

Fig. 9> with the crescent under her 

feet, and the crown of 

twelve stars. Like Aditi, of the Rig Veda, she is the mother 
of the twelve Adityas or months. Also, she has " the wings 
of an eagle," the significance of this symbol has already been 

1 Rev. ii. 7. 

2 See Martigny, article " Zodiaque." 


noticed. She brings forth a "man child," and the mystic 
"dragon," with "seven heads," assails both mother and son. 
" My little children, of whom I travail in birth till Christ be 
formed in you," 1 said St. Paul. In mysticism the mystic 
must become the Son of 
God, 2 must be " born again " 
of the woman with the 
twelve stars, must be vexed 
of " scorpions five months," 
or the five months domi 
nated by Scorpio, before he Fig Ia 
can reach the crown, the cross, the " mystical death." 

The Gnostics, in their great controversy with Irenaeus and 
the Romish Church, asserted that the twelve disciples signified 
the twelve aeons, the twelve months of Christ s mystical life. 
They asserted that the woman with the issue of blood twelve 
years typified the same piece of mysticism, and her cure was, 
of course, the higher life. There were two Achamoths or 
mystical women, the higher residing beyond the Pleroma. 
The mystical " grace " of the Kabbalah was able to make us 
sit together " in heavenly places," even in this life, according 
to St. Paul (Eph. ii. 6). 

"But Sophia is justified of all her children." Christ 
meant here, according to the Gnostics, the twelve stages of 
spiritual progress, the mystic woman with the twelve stars, 
the twelve aeons that stand round the throne of God. 3 

In the Gnostic initiation, according to this same autho 
rity, was a nuptial couch. Do not bishops, nuns, and free 
masons, in their initiations, lie down and personate death to 
this day ? And does not Tertullian talk of a Christian rite 
that imitated the resurrection ? 

" Into the name of the Unknown Father of the Universe, 
into Truth the mother of all things, into Him who descended 
on Jesus, into union and redemption and communion with 
the powers." This is the form of Gnostic baptism given by 
Irenaeus, 4 and is condemned by that very literal monk ; and 

1 Gal. iv. 19. 2 Rev . xxi . 7 . 

3 See Irenaeus, "Haer.," bk. i. c. 21, 23. 4 Ibid., bk. i. c. 3. 


so is another assertion of the Gnostics, that the real baptism 
was different from the mere outward rite. They cited, he 
tells us, these words of Christ : " And I have another baptism 
to be baptized with, and I hasten towards it." l There is a 
text like it in Luke (xii. 50). 

This brings us to the catacombs, which are immensely 
valuable as giving the veiled Christian and also veiled Essene 
symbolism. The Abbe Martigny says very justly, "The 
monuments and writings of the earliest Christian ages are 
quite clothed in mystery. Allegory and symbolism reign 
everywhere. The language of the Fathers and teachers is full 
of reticences. Christian art is a jumble of hieroglyphics and 
enigmas of which the initiates alone have the key." 2 He 
cites St. Paul (i Cor. iii. i), who tells the Corinthians that 
he cannot tell the same truths to the "carnal" and the 
" spiritual." He cites Christ as forbidding that which is holy 
(the secret doctrine) to be given to the "dogs" (Matt. vii. 6), 
a far more plausible interpretation than that of Baur. It 
means, of course, the unspiritual in all regions, and not the 
material Gentiles. 

The catacombs are sepulchral crypts modelled, as Dean 
Stanley thinks, on the crypts of Palestine. Their symbolism 
is chiefly from the Old Testament. On the tombs of bishops 
and martyrs figure rude frescoes of Moses striking the rock, 
Jonah and the whale, the " three children," Jonah naked, sit 
ting under a trellis of gourds. All this puzzled modern 
Christians when they were first opened. No bleeding Christs 
were to be seen. What connection was there between these 
designs and the dead saint whose poor little chapel sepulchre 
they illustrated ? 

In point of fact, each design represented a stage of the 
spiritual progress of the entombed saint. From Bosio 
(" Sculture et Pittore," etc., 1737) I copy four favourite 
frescoes for illustration. 

1 Iren^us, " H^r." bk. i. c. 81. 

2 " Antiques Chre tiennes," art. " Secret." 



I. The Child in the swaddling clothes of flesh introduced 
to the "manger" of animal life (Fig. n). 

Fig. ii, 

Fig. 12. 

2. Moses striking the rock. Purification, the first stage of 
spirituality in the life of the Chosen One. The water 
baptism (Fig. 12). 


3. The fire baptism (illumination), almost invariably de 
picted in the catacombs by the three children of Daniel 

Fig. 13. 

4. The Lazarus released from the swathings of the flesh 
by the jod of the Christus, after the four mystical days passed 
in the " tomb " or earth life (Fig. 14). 

Fig. 14. 

The young Christ in the frontispiece also represents the 
four stages of spiritual progress depicted by the beasts of 
Daniel. And so do the four horses, sword, or Gemini, scales, 
bow, and Indian quoit of death (p. 37). Observe that after 
His progress through the four stages the Christ has the cross 
on his nimbus. This was the mystical meaning of the cross. 



Whilst Protestant polemics are ever seeking to show that 
Christ opposed mysticism and the ascetic life, the Roman 
Catholics are equally active in the other direction. Mon- 
seigneur Mislin calls the Essenes, Rechabites, and Therapeuts, 
the " Monks of the Old Law." l Catholic writers also call 
a monastery on the Quarantania mountain the " Monastery of 
Our Lord." "Monseigneur Mislin tells us that the number 
of cells pierced in this mountain is so considerable that the 
rocks of the Quarantania resemble a beehive." 2 Travellers 
in Burmah and other Buddhist countries record the same 
always of a hillside where the Buddhist monks have resided. 

" The holy grotto," says the Francescan, Lievin de Hamme, 
" which our Lord dwelt in during His forty days fast has not 
yet lost the paintings that once covered it. Amongst other 
scenes of His ministry, Jesus is to be still seen here tempted 
by the devil." 

The Carmelite monks maintain that their order has come 
down direct from Elijah through the sons of the prophets, the 
Essenes, etc. A book was published by the Carmelite Father 
Daniel in the seventeenth century with the following title, 
" The Mirror of Carmel, or the History of the Order of Elias, 
or the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in which its 
origin is traced to the Prophet Elias, its propagation to the 
Children of the Prophets, and its succession shown without 
interruption through the Essenes, Hermits, and Monks, in 
answer to attacks, etc. Antwerp, 1680." 

It is asserted there that the Monastery of Our Lord dates 
from the Prophet Elisha. Finding the cells of Mount Carmel 
and the caverns of the prophets insufficient, he came over and 
established a new school of the prophets on the Quarantania. 

Josephus gives us a description of this region in his day. 
It is the longest and most elaborate description that he 
indulges in of any part of Palestine. On this topic he is 
generally brief. We may argue from this that he knew the 

1 Cited by the author of "Jesus Bouddha," p. 195. 

2 " Jesus Bouddha," p. 194. 


region well. Wishing to study the different opinions of the 
three main sects of the Jews of his day the Pharisees, the 
Sadducees, and the Essenes he tested all three with much 

" But all this did not satisfy me, and learning that one 
Banus was living in austerity in the wilderness, that he had 
no other raiment than the bark of trees, that his sole food 
was the fruits of the earth, and that to dominate the flesh 
he bathed many times day and night and summer and winter 
in cold water, I resolved to imitate him. Having passed 
three years with him, I returned to Jerusalem at the age 
of nineteen. I then commenced the duties of civil life, and 
embraced the sect of the Pharisees." 

Banus was an Essene, and Josephus s ostentatious profes 
sion that he was a Pharisee was plainly a blind to escape the 
persecution of the Jews, and afterwards of the Romans. In 
describing the three sects, he dismisses the Pharisees and 
Sadducees in a few lines, but enlarges with abundant detail 
on the sect of the Essenes, which he calls the most perfect of 
all Also he practised divination, which would have been 
viewed as an abomination by the Pharisees. 

I cannot do better than here transcribe Josephus s account 
of the region where the " Monastery of Our Lord " is situate. 

" Jericho sits on a plain dominated by a lofty mountain, 
sterile and naked, and so extensive *that it stretches north 
wards to Scythopolis and southwards to Sodom. Owing to 
this sterility no one dwells upon it. 

"Near Jericho is a large fountain, whose abundant waters 
fertilize the fields around. Its spring is nigh that ancient 
city which Jesus, the son of Nave, that brave Hebrew chief, 
gained by victory. Folks say that the waters of this fountain 
were of old so dangerous that they rotted earth s fruits, and 
made pregnant women bring forth before their time. More 
over, the waters spread their poison wherever it could harm. 
But since that time, the prophet Elisha, that worthy successor 
of Elias, has made the waters good to drink, and as pure, 
healthy, and as fecundating as they were formerly nocuous. 
All this came about thus. That illustrious man having been 


humanely received by the dwellers in Jericho, wished to mark 
his sense of gratitude by conferring a favour whose effects 
should never be seen to cease either by them or by the 
neighbourhood. Sinking to the bottom of the fountain a jug 
filled with salt, he lifted his eyes and his hands to heaven, 
and made oblations on the bank. He then prayed God to 
sweeten the many streams that, proceeding from this spring, 
watered the surrounding country ; to temper the air to make 
it more genial ; to give plenty to the earth, and abundant 
children to those who cultivated it, the waters never ceasing 
to be propitious as long as man was just. This earnest 
prayer had power to change the nature of the fountain, and 
to make it as fecundating as it was once sterile. The virtue 
of these waters is so great that a few drops thrown on the soil 
will render it fertile ; and spots where the waters have long 
remained bring forth no more than the spots where it rapidly 
passes, as if they wished to punish those who arrest them in 
mistrust of their miraculous effects. In all this region is no 
spring with so long a course. 

"The ground it waters is seventy stadia in length and 
twenty in breadth. Many gardens abound there with palm- 
trees of many names and natures. Some, if you press them, 
give forth a honey like ordinary honey, which is here very 
abundant. Here, too, flourish the cypress and the Indian plum, 
and that tree which gives forth a balm that the juice of no 
other fruit can rival. Thus it may be said, as it seems to me, 
that a country where so many rare products so richly flourish 
has something divine in it ; and I doubt whether in any other 
part of the globe is to be found its equal, so rapid is the 
growth of all that is sown and planted. This is to be attri 
buted to the balmy air and the fecundating attributes of the 
water. The one opens the flowers and leaves, the other 
strengthens the roots by forming plentiful sap in the heats 
of summer, which are so great that without the cooling 
moisture nothing could grow. But however great the heat 
may be, each morning there comes a light breeze, which cools 
the water which folks draw before sunrise. During the winter 
the climate is warm, and a single garment of cloth is enough 



when snow is falling in other parts of Judea. This region is 
one hundred and fifty stadia (about fourteen miles) from Jeru 
salem, and sixty (about seven miles) from the Jordan. The 
country between it and Jerusalem is a stony wilderness ; and 
although that which stretches from the Jordan to the Dead 
Sea is not so mountainous, it is not less sterile and unculti 
vated. I think I have detailed all the favours granted by 
nature to the environs of Jericho." 

This passage lets us into some of the secrets of the great 
spiritual movement that changed the world. 

The Essene mystics had selected the only spot in Pales 
tine that was warm enough for the Indian yoga or mystic 
dreaming under trees. 

One might almost say that this region had been prepared 
by nature for its work. It was protected by ranges of arid 
honey-combed hills, and by the mephitic air of the shores of 
the Dead Sea. To the dominant party in Jerusalem nature 
thus opposed Death, Famine, and Fever, three vigilant 
sentries. It is to be observed, too, that the want of water in 
the caverns and mountains was another prominent safeguard. 
It was impossible to remain long in the wilderness without 
knowing the whereabouts of the " cisterns," the rude reser 
voirs of rain-water. Hazazon Tamar, or the " City of Palms " 
(Engedi), was, according to Pliny, the head-quarters of the 
Essenes. He flourished A.D. 23-79. 

This is what he says of the Essenes : " On the western 
shore (of the Dead Sea), but distant from the sea far enough 
to escape its noxious breezes, dwelt the Essenes. They are 
an eremite clan, one marvellous beyond all others in the whole 
world, without any women, with sexual intercourse entirely 
given up, without money ; and the associates of palm trees. 
Daily is the throng of those that crowd about them renewed, 
men resorting to them in numbers, driven through weariness 
of existence and the surges of ill fortune in their manner of 
life. Thus it is that through thousands of ages, incredible 
to relate, their society, in which no one is born, lives on peren 
nial" ("Hist. Nat." v. 17). 

"Jesus Bouddha" is a powerful little work tracing out the 


connection between Christianity and Buddhism, but from a 
point of view very hostile to both. The author urges with 
plausibility that John the Baptist was the head of this school 
of prophets on the Quarantania. There he was close to the 
Jordan, which was of so much importance in the religion of 
the Nazarites. The author argues that it would have been 
quite impossible for Christ to be baptized of John without 
the preliminary instruction prescribed to the novice. In point 
of fact, the " Gospel of the First Infancy " states positively that 
" He gave himself to the study of the law until he arrived at 
the end of his thirtieth year." l 

1 " First Infancy," chap. xxii. 2. 



The "Signs of an Apostle" Conflicting views of Catholics and Pro 
testants about Miraculous Gifts Magic Rites of the Kabbalah The 
" Twelve great Disciples " of Buddhism " Go ye into all the world." 


IT is recorded in the " Lalita Vistara," that when Buddha 
had completely overcome the wicked one, the bright spirits 
came round him as he sat under the tree of knowledge, and 
proposed to offer him flowers, in the character of Purusha 
(the God-Man). But an objection was raised that he had 
not yet attested his great mission by miraculous " signs." l 
In consequence, Buddha rose aloft into the air, and miracu 
lously checked the flow of the river near him, and broke up 
the roadway. " Tis thus," he said, "that I will now check 
the flow of grief in the world." As Buddha s life is an en- 
sample and text book, all this meant that the monk, before 
he came to be a perfect Arahat, had to pass an examination 
in miraculous gifts at the hands of his brother-monks ; and 
in Buddhist histories these examinations are not uncommon. 
Dr. Ginsburg, in his work " The Essenes," maintains that 

similar tests were required of the early Christians. 

" Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you 

in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds" 

(2 Cor. xii. 12). 

" And these signs shall follow them that believe : In My 

name shall they cast out devils ; they shall speak with new 

tongues ; they shall take up serpents ; and if they drink any 

1 Foucaux, p. 336. 


deadly thing it shall not hurt them ; they shall lay hands on 
the sick and they shall recover" (Mark xvi. 17, 18). 

"And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed 
their deeds" (Acts xix. 18). 

" How is it that every one of you hath a psalm, hath a 
doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation ? If there come in 
those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say 
that you are mad?" (i Cor. xiv. 23). 

We here get a great point of debate between Catholics 
and Protestants. All sects have Bibles distinct from their 
avowed testaments and articles of religion ; and the modern 
gospel of Protestants is, I think, Smith s " Dictionary of the 
Bible." In that, under the heading " Magic," it is laid down 
authoritatively, that man cannot gain what are called super 
natural powers by any known natural processes. It is held 
that the wonders recorded in Gentile schools of magic were 
all illusory. A miracle is an experience that goes counter 
to a general law ; and such have been confined to the Hebrew 
race to "prove the truth" of Mosaism and Christianity, the 
writer failing to trace, with Dr. Edersheim, a wholesale antago 
nism between the two. It is held, that a vague thing called 
" miraculous gifts," was given to the first Christians, not earned 
by them. It was not the reward of fastings and ascetic 
practices, but was gained at once by the touch of an " Apostle," 
plainly with the providential design of showing, that with the 
death of these, such " gifts " were to cease. All signs and won 
ders since that have been unnecessary as well as unauthentic. 

As opposed to this, the Catholics maintain that the visions 
and so-called miraculous powers of the mystic, or as he was 
called everywhere at the date of Christ, the ascetic, are due 
to certain processes which are still available. They appeal to 
the history and experience of the Jews. They also appeal to 
the history and experience of the Gentiles, who " had their 
schools of mysticism which found its highest expressions 
amongst the Brahmins and Buddhists." 1 If the miracles of 
the Old Testament were due to a special gift, and all training 
was considered illusory, the question arises Why did Elijah 
1 Migne, " Dictionnaire d Asceticisme," vol. ii. p. 1514- 


establish a school of the prophets at Mount Carmel, and 
Elisha another near Jericho ? 

In i Kings xviii. we read of a hundred prophets living in 
a cave. In the next chapter, we see Elias, with his long hair 
and leathern girdle, sitting under a juniper tree. In the fourth 
chapter of Judges, we see Deborah judging Israel from under 
a palm tree. Another prophet (i Kings xx.) appears "dis 
guised with ashes." St. Paul tells us that the old prophets in 
sheepskins and goatskins took refuge in mountains, and 
deserts, and caves. They were destitute, afflicted, tormented. 
They had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings and bonds. 
They were stoned, sawn asunder, or slain with a sword. The 
Indian missionaries get often a truer idea of an Asiatic people 
like the Jews, than those whose experience is confined to the 
West. Mr. Ward has recorded, that in India, Elias can still 
be seen sitting under his tree, and the prophet disguised with 

Another difficulty is in the way of the Protestant theory that 
miraculous gifts were confined to the Hebrews, and that all 
training in the schools of the prophets was considered illusory. 
Many of the most conspicuous performers of miracles in the 
Old Testament were educated in Gentile schools of the 
prophets. Moses was trained in the schools of Magic, in 
Egypt. Joseph presided over those schools. Daniel was 
Rab Mag, or head of the Magicians of Babylon. The Witch 
of Endor, who recalled Samuel from the grave, was a Gentile, 
and so was Balaam. 

The processes of the ascetic in Catholic mysticism are the 
same as in all other mysticisms. They have 

1. The " Contemplation Cherubique." 

2. The Mystical Union. 

3. The " Oraison passive." 

The word " union " is the same word as the Indian word 
yoga. Contemplation is defined to be " the elevation of the 
soul to God by a simple intuition full of admiration and 
love." 1 The " oraison " is half prayer half mystic dreaminess, 
its effect being to dull the animal activity. 

1 Migne, "Dictionnaire de Mysticisme." 


Here are some of the spiritual gifts that result from these 

1. Mystical seeing. 

2. Mystical hearing. 

3. Mystical smelling. 

4. Discerning of spirits, the clairvoyance of St. Paul. 

5. Flight through the air. 

6. Mystical preaching. 

7. Mystical healing by the laying on of hands, a power 
conspicuously developed by the celebrated Cure d Ars. 

8. Communication with the spirits of the dead, as when 
St. Martin was enabled to carry on long conversations with 
" Thiele and Agnes and Mary." All these topics are treated 
under their various heads in Migne s " Dictionnaire de Mys- 

9. Resurrection of the dead. 

These " gifts " are very like those claimed by the Essenes, 
as already detailed. 

What that sect meant by raising the dead it is not easy to 
settle. It could scarcely have been conceived that the dead 
man could permanently revive after decomposition has ac 
tually set in. A profound student of mysticism, Francis 
Barrett, who lived at the beginning of the century, wrote a 
work entitled "The Cabala," which may help us here. He 
says that the Kabbalists held that there were " two kinds of 
necromancy." The first consisted in "raising the carcasses." 
This, it was conceived, could only be effected by the effusion 
of blood, a fact that lets in some light on the bloody rites of 
the old creeds. The second process was called Sciomancy, 
" in which the calling up of the shadow only suffices." 1 The 
learned gentleman gives the Kabbalistic rites by which " the 
seven governors of the whole world according to the seven 
planets " are to be invoked, and other beings " which Origen 
called the invisible powers." 2 As in Buddhism, these rites 
seem nearly identical with the sacramental rites or mysteries. 

" It is necessary that the invocant religiously dispose 

1 " The Cabala, or Ceremonial Magic." p. 69. 
2 Ibid., p. 43. 


himself for the space of many days to such a mystery, and to 
conceive himself during the time chaste, abstinent, and to 
abstract himself as much as he can from all manner of foreign 
and secular business. Likewise he shall observe fasting, as 
much as shall seem convenient to him." l The " Kabbalah " 
enjoins a fast of forty days. " Now, concerning the place, it 
must be chosen, clean, pure, close, quiet, free from all manner 
of noise, and not subject to any stranger s sight. This place 
must first of all be exorcised and consecrated ; and let there 
be a table or altar placed therein, covered with a clean white 
linen cloth, and set towards the east ; and on each side 
thereof place two consecrated wax lights burning, the flame 
thereof ought not to go out all these days. In the middle of 
the altar let there be placed lamens [slips of paper with the 
ten great names of God] covered with fine linen, which is not 
to be opened until the end of the days of consecration. You 
shall also have in readiness a precious perfume, and a pure 
anointing oil, and let them both be kept consecrated. Then 
set a censer on the head of the altar, wherein you shall kindle 
the holy fire, and make a precious perfume every day that 
you pray. 

" Now for your habit, you shall have a long garment of 
white linen, close before and behind, which may come down 
quite over the feet, and gird yourself about the loins with 
a girdle. You shall likewise have a veil made of pure white 
linen, on which must be wrote in a gilt lamen the name 
Tetragrammaton ; all which things are to be consecrated and 
sanctified in order. But you must not go into this holy place 
till it be first washed and covered with a cloth new and clean, 
and then you may enter, but with your feet naked and bare ; 
and when you enter therein you shall sprinkle with holy 
water, then make a perfume upon the altar ; and then on thy 
knees pray before the altar as we have directed. 

" Now when the time is expired, on the last day, you 
shall fast more strictly ; and fasting on the day following, at 
the rising of the sun, enter the holy place, using the cere 
monies before spoken of, first by sprinkling thyself, then, 
1 " Ceremonial Magic," p. 92 


making a perfume, you shall sign the cross with holy oil in 
the forehead, and anoint your eyes, using prayer in all these 
consecrations. Then, open the lamen l and pray before the 
altar upon your knees ; and then an invocation may be made 
as follows : 


"In the name of the blessed and Holy Trinity, I do desire 
thee, strong and mighty angels (here name the spirits you 
would have appear), that if it be the divine will of him who is 
called Tetragrammaton, etc., the holy God, the Father, that 
thou take upon thee some shape as best becometh thy 
celestial nature, and appear to us visibly here in this place, 
and answer our demands, in as far as we shall not transgress 
the bounds of the divine mercy and goodness, by requesting 
unlawful knowledge ; but thou wilt graciously shew us what 
things are most profitable for us to know and do to the glory 
and honour of his divine Majesty, who liveth and reigneth, 
world without end. Amen. 

" Lord, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven ; make 
clean our hearts within us, and take not Thy holy spirit from 
us. O Lord, by Thy name we have called them, suffer them 
to administer unto us. 

" And that all things may work together for Thy honour 
and glory, to whom with Thee, the Son and Blessed Spirit, be 
ascribed all might, majesty, and dominion, world without end 

This is how a Buddhist acquires magical powers. 

The novice must select an able teacher. He must be 
shaved, washed, cleaned. Of particular importance is the 
choice of the place of initiation. It must be without distinc 
tions, free from the terrors of wild beasts, and haunted by the 
spirits of the past Buddhas. 

The place must be well swept and otherwise cleaned ; and 
fresh earth must be thrown upon it in order to make its 
surface even and smooth. A magical circle of the five sacred 
1 The lamen is the " book " of the Apocalypse. 


colours must be drawn in order to overcome evil spirits, who 
will do all they can to mar the efforts of the devotee. Within 
the circle an altar is erected, upon which various vessels are 
ranged, rilled with grain and perfumed water. The cere 
monies consist in the reciting of incantations and the presenta 
tion of food offerings to the good spirits. The incantations 
must be recited slowly, without raising or lowering the voice. 
They must be repeated something like a hundred thousand 
times a day. A rosary with 108 beads helps the counting. 
A vajra (toy thunderbolt) all this time must be held tightly 
in the hand. The spirits prayed to are Vajrapani, the holder 
of Indra s thunderbolt. Sweet dreams and sweet supernatural 
scents prelude the advent of the supernatural powers. In the 
rite called Dubed the novice has to fix his gaze on water in 
a vessel tricked out with knots of the five sacred colours. The 
modern mesmerist gains power over a sensitive in a some 
what similar manner. Vajra means "diamond" as well as 
" thunderbolt," and this second idea has been worked into the 
first. The head of the thunderbolt is shaped like a diamond. 
It is stated in one passage of the " Lalita Vistara," that 
Buddha indulged "in that ecstatic meditation whose essence 
is the diamond." 1 The Buddhists call the spirit body the 
" diamond body." 2 


Buddha, like Christ, had twelve " great disciples." 
" Only in my religion," he said solemnly a little before he 
died, "can be found the twelve great disciples who practise 
the highest virtues and excite the world to free itself from its 
torments." 3 These twelve great disciples are the Buddhas 
who figure round the great statue of Buddha on Buddhist 
altars. He had sixty minor disciples, and Christ seventy. 
In the view of Mosheim "Christ appointed seventy, just equal 
in number to the senators composing the Sanhedrim, to show 

1 See p. 206. 

2 For details of initiation, see Pariprichcha, Schlagintweit, 
" Buddhism in Tibet," p. 242. 

3 Bigandet, p. 301. 


that the authority of the regular Sanhedrim was at an end, 
and that He was Supreme Lord and Pontiff of the whole 
Hebrew race." l 

The word "apostle" designated the shoeless wandering 
missionary of Christianity ; but it was also used to describe 
the stationary councillors round the head of the Church. The 
twelve apostles, according to Renan, were not missionaries, 
but remained at Jerusalem. After the taking of that city, 
even the orthodox Jews used the word " apostle " to designate 
the council round their patriarch. 2 The Essene Sanhedrim 
abrogated to itself the power of inflicting death (to the 
blasphemer) and excommunication, a punishment which, 
according to Josephus, was almost its equivalent. That 
Christ had His Sanhedrim at an early date is manifest from 
more than one passage in the New Testament 

"And if he neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church 
[assembly] : but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be 
as a heathen man and a publican" (Matt, xviii. 17). 

" Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to 
law before the unjust, and not before the saints?" (i Cor. 
vi. i). 

If Christ thus took over the Essene Sanhedrim and set up 
a government with the avowed purpose of superseding that 
of the dominant Jews, it is difficult to see how He can be 
held, when speaking of "every jot and tittle of the law," to 
have alluded to the law as interpreted by the historical 


Professor Rhys Davids has pointed out the fact that 
Buddha s great object was to found a " kingdom of righteous 
ness " 3 (dharma chakra) on earth. From Benares, in the first 
year of his ministry, he sent forth his sixty disciples on the 
work of propagandism 

" Depart each man in a different direction, no two on the 

1 Mosheim, vol. i. p. 33. 

2 Lightfoot, " Epistle to the Galatians," p. 93. 

3 " Birth Stories," p. 69. 


same road. Let each preach dharma to all men without 
exception " 1 (see Plate V.). 

Let us note what commands Christ gave to His disciples 
" Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city 
of the Samaritans enter ye not : but go rather to the lost 
sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, 
The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse 
the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have 
received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor 
brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two 
coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is 
worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye 
shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy ; and there abide till 
ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. 
And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it : 
but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And 
whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when 
ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of 
your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable 
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment 
than for that city. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the 
midst of wolves : be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harm 
less as doves. But beware of men : for they will deliver you 
up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their syna 
gogues ; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings 
for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles, 
But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what 
ye shall speak : for it shall be given you in that same hour 
what ye shall speak. But it is not ye that speak, but the 
Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the 
brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father 
the child : and the children shall rise up against their parents, 
and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated 
of all men for My name s sake : but he that endureth to the 
end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this 
city, flee ye into another : for verily I say unto you, Ye shall 
not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be 
1 Bigandet, p. 126. 


,/f \-".s 
ty- Sjf 


from Ainaravat i . 

[Page 140. 


come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant 
above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his 
master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the 
master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they 
call them of his household ? Fear them not therefore : for 
there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed ; and hid, 
that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that 
speak ye in light : and what ye hear in the ear, that preach 
ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the 
body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him 
which .is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not 
two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall 
not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very 
hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, 
ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever there 
fore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before 
My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me 
before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is 
in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on 
earth : I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am 
come to set a man at variance against his father, and the 
daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against 
her mother-in-law" (Matt. x. 5-35). 

The Essenism of this passage is very remarkable, Jesus 
using at times the very words of John. His disciples are to 
be without money or two coats or shoes, like the barefooted 
Essenes. Also He says not a word about His divinity as in 
the Gospel of St. John, but tells His disciples to deliver the 
same gospel as John and the Book of Adam, the gospel of 
the kingdom of light. 

Another point is remarkable. No Christian disciple had 
yet begun to preach, and yet what do we find ? A vast secret 
organization in every city. It is composed of those who " are 
worthy" (the word used by Josephus for Essene initiates, 
see ante^ p. 107), and they are plainly bound to succour the 
brethren at the risk of their lives. " Peace be with you ! " 
was the password, says the author of "Jesus Bouddha." It 
is remarkable that this mystic greeting is also in the " Book 


of Adam." ] And we find likewise that a vast organization 
of persecution is already afoot, with its councils, and scourg- 
ings, and stonings, and martyrdom. I think this is as strong 
a fact as we can have. The brethren were infringing the 
Jewish law as interpreted by the dominant party. Thauma- 
turgic healing and exorcisms were called witchcraft, raising 
the dead necromancy, speaking with the afflatus of the spirit 

An orthodox Jew, instead of succouring such, was bound 
by his law to help the recognized authorities to bring them 
to justice. And yet it is announced that the crime of Sodom 
and Gomorrha was as nothing to such an act. Plainly those 
that were "worthy" were not purblind Jews, but initiated 
children of light, who had taken fearful vows to obey the 
Grand Master. 

And here I must point out that, until I had made a study 
of Buddhism, I was quite unable to piece together the some 
what contradictory accounts that have come down to us of 
the Essenes and their monasteries. Josephus describes them 
as congregated herdsmen and diggers. Philo paints them as 
communities of ascetics engaged in what he calls the "con 
templation of the Divine Essence." Pliny shows them to us 
as a large section of the Jews, recruited entirely by propa- 
gandism. Then, too, although Josephus tells us they " shunned 
cities," it is plain, from the numbers that could be ferreted out 
by the secret police at Jerusalem in the early days of St. 
Paul, that many after their initiation went back to civil life, 
like Philo and Josephus. This probably was the class that, 
according to the latter, might have wives and children. 

But my study of Buddhism threw light upon this subject. 
When that religion was chased from India, the acharya of the 
great Buddhist convent at Nalanda, the " high priest of all 
the world," as he is called in the Mahawanso, took refuge in 
Tibet. As the Grand Lama he is still acknowledged to be the 
head of the Buddhist Church by the Chinese, the Japanese, 
and the Tartars. This gives to the Buddhism of Tibet an 
exceptional value. 

1 Page 126. 


According to the Abbe Hue, 1 the Buddhist lamas in those 
regions may be divided into four classes 

1. Those dwelling in the Lama Serais, and serving the 

2. Inferior lamas told off to attend to the herds, etc., 
belonging to the Lama Serais. 

3. Lamas who have undergone the initiation, but have 
found that they have no vocation, and have returned to civil 

4. The wandering lamas, whose tent, as they prettily 
term it, is the starry tent of Buddha. 

These men, each with no luggage besides a stout staff, 
wander all over Tartary, Mongolia, Turkestan. They plunge 
into deserts, " sleep under a rock, or on the icy peak of a 
mountain," obeying no impulse except a fervid passion for 
a fresh start each morning. Sometimes a Tartar gives them 
a cup of tea, stirred up with a few pinches of flour. Some 
times they sleep for one night in a corner of a Tartar tent. 
These men are of the pattern of the formidable Parivrajakas, 
that first preached dharma to humanity ; and they account 
for the marvellous spread of Buddhism. Also, I think, they 
throw a side-light on the shoeless " apostles " sent forth by 

1 " Voyage dans la Tartarie, le Thibet, et la Chine," vol. i. p. 189. 



Essenism in the Bible Continence exacted with Communism, Vege 
tarianism, and Water-drinking "Follow Me" The Voice in the 
Sky The King of Remedies The Buddhist "Sermon on the 
Mount" The Buddhist Beatitudes The New Commandment. 

I WILL write down a few more texts that show Essenism in 
the New Testament. 


" It is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom 
of heaven" (Matt. xiii. 11). 

"The kingdom of God is come unto you" (Matt. xii. 28). 
"The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke xvii. 21). 


"And were baptised of him [John] in Jordan, confessing 
their sins " (Matt. iii. 6). 

" And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway 
out of the water ; and lo ! the heavens were opened to Him, 
and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and 
lighting upon Him" (Matt. iii. 16). 

" When they heard this, they were baptized in the name 
of the Lord Jesus; and when Paul had laid his hands upon 
them, the Holy Ghost came on them, and they spake with 
tongues and prophesied " (Acts xix. 5, 6). 



" Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation 
a stone " (John i. 42). 

"Lebaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus " (Matt. x. 3). 


"Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and 
fasting" (Matt. xvii. 21). 

" But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash 
thy face" (Matt. vi. 17). 


"And all that believed were together, and had all things 
common " (Acts ii. 44). 

" If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and 
give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven : and 
come and follow Me" (Matt. xix. 21). 

" For some of them thought that, because Judas had the 
bag, that Jesus had said to him, Buy those things we have 
need of against the feast " (John xiii. 29). 

" Swear not at all " (Matt. v. 34). 


" All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom 
it is given. . . . There be eunuchs which have made them 
selves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven s sake. He that is 
able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matt xix. n, 12). 

"And I looked, and lo ! a Lamb stood on the Mount 
Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, 
having His Father s name written on their foreheads. 
These are they which were not defiled with women, for they 
are virgins " (Rev. xiv. i, 4). 

On the subject of flesh-meat and wine, I will now cite 
some verses of a remarkable chapter (Rom. xiv.). St. Paul 



had not yet visited the eternal city, but some earlier Christian 
missionaries had. Thus two parties had sprung up amongst 
the converts, a party opposed to the consumption of flesh- 
meat and wine, and a second party, St. Paul s own converts. 
The second party was plainly the smaller party, as it is 
alluded to as a "remnant according to the election of 
grace." 1 

"The Church of Rome," says Renan, alluding to the 
earlier missionaries, "was a Jewish Christian foundation, 
indirect connection with the Church of Jerusalem." 2 In a 
word, it was the chief stronghold outside the Jewish capital 
of the Petrine party, and the usual controversy on the subject 
of " works" and "grace" had apparently arisen in the Roman 
capital between the Pauline and the Petrine party. The 
former had plainly appealed to their leader upon the points 
under discussion. 

" I say then, Hath God cast away His people ? God forbid. 
For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the 
tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which 
He foreknew. Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias ? 
how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 
Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine 
altars ; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what 
saith the answer of God unto him ? I have reserved to Myself 
seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the 
image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there 
is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by 
grace, then is it no more of works : otherwise grace is no 
more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace : 
otherwise work is no more work." 

This passage shows that by deeds of the Law St. Paul 
meant the Law as interpreted by Peter ; for the whole con 
troversy in Rome, as we shall see, rolled upon the question 
whether meat or herbs only should be consumed, and water 
drunk or wine. 

Now I am willing to stake the whole case of the Essenism 
of early Christianity on St. Paul s answer. That is the crucial 
1 Rom. xi. 5. 2 " Conferences d Angleterre," p. 65. 


point. In the view of Bishop Lightfoot, Christianity was a 
great anti-mystical and anti-ascetic movement, which had 
substituted wine for water in the daily sacramental dinner 
of the Nazarenes. Is it not perfectly plain that if St. Paul 
had been aware of this fact, his reply would have been quite 
triumphant? He would have pointed to the solemn injunc 
tions of the Master, and condemned the innovating party in 
no measured terms. Instead of this, what do we find ? He 
orders his disciples at Rome to drink nothing but water. 
Furthermore, he orders them to eat nothing but " herbs," no 
animal food. He ought, of course, to have been aware, as 
pointed out by Bishop Lightfoot, that Christ at His model 
supper ate lamb. But it seems that St. Paul was not aware 
of this fact. 

" Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to 
doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all 
things : another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that 
eateth despise him that eateth not ; and let not him which 
eateth not judge him that eateth : for God hath received him. 
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth 
every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own 
mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord ; 
and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not 
regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth 
God thanks ; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth 
not, and giveth God thanks. Let us not therefore judge one 
another any more : but judge this rather, that no man put 
a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother s way. 
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is 
nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything 
to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be 
grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. 
Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let 
not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of 
God is not meat and drink ; but righteousness, and peace, and 
joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth 
Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us 
therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and 


things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy 
not the work of God. All things indeed are pure ; but it is 
evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither 
to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy 
brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast 
thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that 
condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth 
not of faith : for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." 

It is to be observed, too, that St. Paul advises Bishop 
Timothy to "use a little wine for his stomach s sake" 
(i Tim. v.). 

This is most important. A recently recovered work, the 
" Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," has put beyond question 
the fact that the sacramentum or mysterion of the early 
Church was identical with the daily dinner of the brethren as 
with the Essenes and Therapeuts. But Bishop Timothy was 
plainly accustomed to celebrate it with water. Is not this a 
complete proof that he knew nothing of Christ s command, to 
use the " fruit of the vine " in the sacramentum ? Consider 
also the reason that St. Paul gives for the change. Had he 
been aware of what is now reported to have occurred at the 
last supper, would he have merely urged a change to wine 
on the utilitarian grounds here urged ? " For thy stomach s 
sake, and thine often infirmities ! " 

This puts us in a better position to consider the controversy 
which raged in the second century, when Tatian protested 
against the introduction of wine at the altar as being part and 
parcel of a great scheme to destroy the spirituality of the 
Christian movement. 

" Ye gave the Nazarite wine to drink, and commanded the 
prophets saying, Prophesy not ! " 

St. Jerome for this has branded him as an innovator, and 
attributed the Encratites and other water-drinking communi 
ties then confessedly existing in the Church to his teaching. 
But this charge will not bear a moment s scrutiny. The four 
teenth chapter of Romans shows that as early as the visit of 
Paul to Rome water was used in the Roman Church. 


This brings us to the passages describing the institution of 
the sacrament. St.- Paul, who is first in the field, confesses 
that he received the account he gives of it " of the Lord," that 
is, in visions, and not historically. He says not a single word 
of the cup containing wine. On the contrary, in the previous 
chapter, in attempting to derive the Christian rites from Moses, 
he says distinctly that the followers of Moses and Christ had 
the "same spiritual drink," namely, the "Rock," which is 
Christ, l that is, of course, water. 

This account, confessedly derived from the visions of St. 
Paul, is copied in the synoptic gospels, with this additional 

" Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit 
of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom 
of God." 

It is to be remarked, however, that the passage is so 
clumsily put in in St. Luke, that a second account of Christ s 
words when delivering the cup has been left, in which there 
is not a word about the " fruit of the vine." It is announced 
also that the disciples were heralded into the guest chamber 
by a man bearing a pitcher of water. 

Another strong fact may be mentioned. Tatian composed 
a harmony of the four Gospels ; and Tatian maintained that 
the use of wine was an innovation. It is evident, therefore, 
that in the four gospels, as known to him, the passages about 
the " wine-bibber " and the " fruit of the vine " were not to be 
found ; or he would not have gone to the trouble of harmo 
nizing gospels which disproved his main thesis, but would 
have taken his stand on the gospels of the gnostics. Tatian s 
" Harmony " was afterwards pronounced to contain added 
heretical matter, and was destroyed. This is silly ; for the 
composition of a diatesseron or harmony is the one literary 
feat where the addition of spurious matter is impossible. A 
"harmony" implies a scrupulous respect for the text. The 
charge confesses change, but proves that that change must 
have been subsequent. 

One more piece of important evidence, and then I ha\e 

1 i Cor. x. 4. 


done. The Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, as given by Dr. Neale 
and Dr. Littledale, 1 shows that warm water was the ingredient 
of the cup when it was composed. 

" Sir, fill the holy cup," says the deacon, plainly showing 

that at this moment it was empty. A piece of bread is then 

placed in it, and warm water. I will write down the passage 

" After the priest has broken the holy bread into four 

portions, he exclaims, 

" * The Lamb of God is broken and distributed. He that 
is broken and not divided in sunder, ever eaten and never 
consumed, but sanctifying the communicants. 

"And the deacon, pointing with his orarion to the holy cup, 

" Sir, fill the holy cup/ 

" And the priest, taking the upper portion (that is the 
I.H.C.), makes with it a cross above the holy cup, saying, 

" < The fulness of the cup of faith, of the Holy Ghost, and 
thus puts it into the holy cup. 
" Deacon, Amen. 

" And taking the WARM WATER he saith to the priest, 
" Sir, bless the warm water. " 2 

After this the warm water is poured into the cup ; and 
nowhere is any mention of wine. Had wine been used, it 
would have also been blessed. 

Then a priori what conceivable reason could have made 
Jesus change the main Essene rite? He and His followers 
were so pursued and persecuted, that he envied the secure 
crannies of the fox (jackal) and the birds of the air. Why 
order a daily consumption of wine under such circumstances, 
when even cisterns of water in the craggy wastes must have 
been hard enough to find ? 

The Nazarites, or Nazarenes, were characterized from the 
outside by a special mark a vow to drink nothing but water. 
Why suddenly introduce a change which would place before 
each disciple the cruel dilemma of disobedience or perjury ? 
On the other hand, the motives of Pope Victor and his succes- 

1 Neale and Littledale, "Liturgies of the Greek Church," p. 120. 

2 Ibid. 


sors are patent enough. They were going to restore Pontifex 
Maximus and the Roman worship of Bacchus, calling Bacchus 
" Christ." They were going to give to the victorious Christians 
the victory of terminology alone, but to the pagans the victory 
of ideas. " The Pope is the ghost of the deceased Roman 
empire," said Hobbes, "sitting crowned upon the grave 

" FOLLOW ME ! " 

Buddha called his disciples with precisely the same words 
as Jesus. Almost his earliest converts were thirty profligate 
nobleman in the Kappasya jangal. He said to them, " Follow 
me ! " and they abandoned their lemans. He then converted 
three Hindu ascetics and all their followers. " He received 
them," says Dr. Rhys Davids, in his translation, " into the 
order with the formula, Follow me ! " 

These words have received an extended meaning since 
those days. Nuns have their " vocation " and the disciples of 
Wesley their mystic " call." Zacchseus under his fig tree, like 
the Catholic saint, St. John of the Cross, before his crucifix, 
calls aloud, " Seigneur, faites que je vois ! " and, lo, the Christ 

Professor Rhys Davids points out that Yasas, a rich young 
man, came to Buddha by night, for fear of his rich relations. 
Buddha spoke to him of love, of virtue, of heaven (swarga), 
and of the way to salvation, and made him a convert. 2 


Buddha, like Christ, is the Great Physician who heals all 
sicknesses, bodily and mental. In China, he is called the 
" Unsurpassable Doctor ; " in the " Lalita Vistara," the " King 
of Remedies." 3 He visits the sick man Su-ta, and heals his 
soul as well as his body. 4 At Vaisali, likewise, he performs a 

1 "Birth Stories," p. 114. 

2 See " Tibetan Life," by Rockhill, p. 38. 

3 " Lalita Vistara," p. 99. 4 " Chinese Dhammapada," p. 47- 


very miraculous act. This city was afflicted with a pestilence 
something like modern cholera. It was due to a number of 
corpses festering on the river s bank. An appeal is made to 
Buddha, and he comes and dispels the pestilence with a 
strong wind. 1 A disciple has his feet hacked off by an unjust 
king, and Buddha cures even him. 2 King Suddhodana is on 
the point of death. Buddha forms a sort of mesmeric chain 
round him, with the co-operation of four disciples, and arrests 
his malady. 3 

To all who have been in the East the gospel recitals of 
healings and the casting out of devils are very lifelike, the 
twanging of rude instruments, " the minstrels and the people 
making a noise." And sober travellers in Buddhist countries 
record many genuine cures. The Abbe Hue describes an old 
woman sick of a r grievous fever in the Valley of the Black 
Waters. The only doctors known in those regions, he tells us, 
Avere in the Buddhist lamaseries ; and if the case is pro 
nounced a grave one, or, in the language of the country, if a 
tchutgour, or devil, is in possession of the sick person, a 
strong array of Buddhist monks, with rude Tartar music, and 
scents and psalms, is despatched, with bell and book and 
candle. Eight lamas arrived, and thoroughly and instan 
taneously cured the old woman, says the Abbe. 4 In the old 
volumes of travels of Ribeyro and Knox in Ceylon are 
many wonderful narratives. Grievous choleraic pains were 
removed whilst the patient, lying on his back, was touched by 
the Buddhist sramana, before a short hymn to Buddha had 
finished its echoes. The bites of venomous snakes were 
rendered harmless, not once but many times. A demoniacal 
possession called Lycanthropy, very prevalent in the island, 
was always cured. 5 

This brings me to a passage in the " Travels " of Abbe 
Hue, which seems to me to throw much light on the disputa 
tion with the doctors as recorded in the lives of both Christ 

1 Bigandet, p. 186. 2 Burnouf, Introduction, etc., p. 156. 

3 Bigandet, p. 192. 

4 " Voyage dans la Tartarie," torn. i. chap. ii. 

5 See " Ceremonies Religieuses," by Picart, vol. vii. pp. 143, et seq. 


and Buddha. In Tibet, the novice, to strengthen his dialectics, 
is set up before a conclave of doctors learned in the four 
great branches of knowledge namely, mysticism, medicine, 
liturgy, and prayers, and is pelted with questions. He, on his 
side, is allowed to start all sorts of fantastic inquiries. " There 
is nothing so monstrous as these disquisitions," says the Abbe, 
" which suggest the discussions of the Middle Ages." x But a 
friend of mine tells me that young Jesuits have precisely the 
same method of training logomachies, where such topics as 
the immaculate conception are very freely handled. 

All this seems of great importance in settling the question 
whether or not Christ was an Essene. Such training would 
be quite out of place in the Mosaism of the Bloody Altar. 
Its main idea was that without the shedding of the blood of 
certain animals on certain fixed days there was no remission 
of sins. It expressly forbid the casting out of devils, and 
unorthodox dialectics. 


Buddha, like Christ, delivered a sermon on a mountain, 
which is held by the Buddhists to condense his teaching. 2 
The heart of man, he said, was a burning fire, and so were 
all the objects in the three worlds, the objects that could be 
seen, felt, heard, or touched. This fire was the fire of lust, of 
anger, of ignorance. It was due to the shortcomings of a life 
exposed to rebirth, sickness, old age, mortal anxieties. Only 
the disciples of Buddha could escape the torments of this 
fiery furnace. Freed from lust and human passion, they had 
acquired the wisdom that leads to the Perfect Man. They 
were no longer bound by the sixteen laws, for they had 
passed into higher regions. This sermon was delivered on 
the Elephant s Head, a mountain near Buddha Gaya. 

This seems to throw much light on Christ s " aeonial fire." 
Our version translates it " eternal fire," and turns its meaning 
topsy-turvy. The Jews in Christ s day believed in the 
metempsychosis, and the word " aeon " was the Greek word for 

1 "Voyage," vol. ii. p. 118. 2 Bigandet, p. 141, note. 


one rebirth. The sorrows and experiences of mortal life 
constitute the fire that purifies and gives us wisdom. 


The Buddhists, like the Christians, have got their Beatitudes. 
They are plainly arranged for chant and response in the 
temples. It is to be noted that the Christian Beatitudes were 
a portion of the early Christian ritual. 

"An Angel. 
" i Many angels and men 

Have held various things blessings. 

When they were yearning for the inner wisdom. 

Do thou declare to us the chief good. 


" 2 Not to serve the foolish, 
But to serve the spiritual ; 
To honour those worthy of honour, 
This is the greatest blessing. 

" 3 To dwell in a spot that befits one s condition, 
To think of the effect of one s deeds, 
To guide the behaviour aright, 
This is the greatest blessing. 

" 4 Much insight and education, 
Self-control and pleasant speech, 
And whatever word be well spoken, 
This is the greatest blessing. 

" 5 To support father and mother, 
To cherish wife and child, 
To follow a peaceful calling, 
This is the greatest blessing. 

" 6 To bestow alms and live righteously, 
To give help to kindred, 
Deeds which cannot be blamed, 
These are the greatest blessing. 

" 7 To abhor and cease from sin, 
Abstinence from strong drink, 
Not to be weary in well-doing, 

These are |he greatest blessing. 


" 8 Reverence and lowliness, 
Contentment and gratitude, 
The hearing of the Law at due seasons, 
This is the greatest blessing. 

" 9 To be long suffering and meek, 
To associate with the tranquil, 
Religious talk at due seasons, 
This is the greatest blessing. 

" 10 Self-restraint and purity, 

The knowledge of the noble truths, 
The attainment of Nirvana, 

This is the greatest blessing. 

" 1 1 In the midst of the eight world miseries. 
Like the man of pure life, 
Be calm and unconcerned, 

This is the greatest blessing. 

" 12 Listener, if you keep this law, 
The law of the spiritual world, 
You will know its ineffable joy, 
This is the greatest blessing." * 



" By love alone can we conquer wrath. By good alone 
can we conquer evil. The whole world dreads violence. All 
men tremble in the presence of death. Do to others that 
which ye would have them do to you. Kill not. Cause no 
death." 2 

" Say no harsh words to thy neighbour. He will reply to 
thee in the same tone." 

"I am injured. I am provoked. I have been beaten and 
plundered. They who speak thus will never cease to hate." 

" Religion is nothing but the faculty of love." 3 

1 "Khuddaka Patha." See Rhys Davids, " Buddhism," p. 127, and 
Bigandet s translation, p. 118, note. 

2 Sutra of Forty-two Sections, v. 129. M. Ldon Feer, in his translation, 
gives the very words of Luke vi. 31. 

3 Bigandet, p. 223. 


" Let goodwill without measure impartial, unmixed, with 
out enmity, prevail throughout the world, above, beneath 
around." 1 


A merchant from Sunaparanta having joined Buddha s 
society, was desirous of preaching to his relations, and is said 
to have asked the permission of the master so to do. 

" The people of Sunaparanta," said Buddha, " are exceed 
ingly violent, if they revile you, what will you do ? " 

" I will make no reply," said the mendicant. 

" And if they strike you ? " 

" I will not strike in return," said the mendicant. 

" And if they try to kill you ? " 

" Death," said the missionary, " is no evil in itself. Many 
even desire it, to escape from the vanities of life." 2 


De Carne (p. 113) relates that the Buddhists of Laos are 
accustomed to offer up parts of their bodies to Buddha. 
Whilst he was in their parts, a man cut off his forefinger and 
offered it up. 

1 " Khuddaka Patha," p. 16. 2 Bigandet, p, 216. 

( 157 ) 


"Glad Tidings "Faith The Sower The Armour of Light " How 
hardly shall they that have riches instruct themselves in the way " 
Names of Buddha The Metempsychosis in Judaism and Chris 


ODDLY enough the Buddhist gospel is also called "glad 
tidings," (subha shita). A worthy king named Subhashita- 
gaveshi, desiring to learn this gospel, interrogated the god 
Indra in the guise of a demon. 

" Leap, O king, into a fiery lake, heated day and night 
for seven days, and then I will tell thee." 

The good king abdicated in favour of his son, and flung 
himself into the fiery lake. Forthwith it became pure cold 
water. Then Indra, appearing in his full majesty, recited the 
following stanza 

" Walk in the path of duty. 
Do good to thy neighbour]; 
Work no evil unto him. 
He who confers a benefit on a man 
Is lodged comfortably both here and in the next world." 1 


" Ananda, have faith. Tathagata enjoins it. All that thou 
hast to do Tathagata has already accomplished." 2 
" Friends, faith is the first gate of the Law." 3 
" All who have faith in me obtain a mighty joy." 4 
" Ananda, turn thy soul to faith. This is my command." 5 

1 R. L. Mitra, " Northern Buddhist Literature," p. 29. 

2 " Lalita Vistara," p. 95. 3 Ibid., p. 39. 
4 Ibid., p. 188. 5 Ibid., p. 96. 


" Ananda, have faith, and I will conduct thee to the saints, 
and say, These are my friends ! Thus, if a man with a 
beloved son should die, the friends of the father would succour 
the son. In this way, Ananda, those who have faith in me 
I love and cherish ; for they are my friends, and come to seek 
in me a refuge." * 

In point of fact, as Colebrooke shows, discussions on the 
" efficacy " of faith and works, on " grace " and free-will are 
especially Indian. 2 They would be much out of place in a 
religion of State ceremonial like the Lower Judaism. 


It is recorded that Buddha once stood beside the plough 
man Kasibharadvaja, who reproved him for his idleness. 
Buddha answered thus 

" I, too, plough and sow, and from my ploughing and sow 
ing I reap immortal fruit. My field is religion. The weeds 
I pluck up are the passions of cleaving to existence. My 
plough is wisdom, my seed purity." 3 

On another occasion he described almsgiving as being like 
" good seed sown on a good soil that yields an abundance of 
fruits. But alms given to those who are yet under the 
tyrannical yoke of passions are like a seed deposited in a bad 
soil. The passions of the receiver of the alms choke, as it 
were, the growth of merits." 4 


A MAN." 

In the " Sutta Nipata," chap. ii. is a discourse on the food 
that defiles a man (Amagandha). Therein it is explained at 
some length that the food that is eaten cannot defile a man, 
but, " destroying living beings, killing, cutting, binding, steal 
ing, falsehood, adultery, evil thoughts, murder, this defiles a 
man, not the eating of flesh." 

1 " Lalita Vistara," p. 96. 2 " Essays," vol. i. p. 376. 

3 Hardy, " Manual," p. 215. 4 Bigandet, p. 211. 



" A man," says Buddha, " buries a treasure in a deep pit, 
which, lying concealed therein day after day, profits him 
nothing ; but there is a treasure of charity, piety, temperance, 
soberness, a treasure, secure, impregnable, that cannot pass 
away, a treasure that no thief can steal. Let the wise 
man practise virtue ; this is a treasure that follows him after 
death." 1 


" Commit no adultery." Commentary by Buddha : " This 
law is broken by even looking at the wife of another with a 
lustful mind." 2 


" It [the seen world] is like a city of sand. Its foundations 
cannot endure." 3 


Buddha called the Bodhi, or Gnosis, " the great armour 
that makes perfect the saint." 4 


" The men of wisdom have seen that speech is like an 
echo. It is like a note on the lute. The wise man asks, 
Whence has it come ? Whither has it gone ? " 5 


" Who is not freed, cannot free others. The blind cannot 
guide in the way." 6 


The " Way " that touches not earth. 

The " Way " of the one great conqueror of the three thou 
sand great worlds. 7 

1 " Khuddaka Patha," p. 13. 

2 See " Buddhaghosa s Parables," by Max Miiller and Rogers, p. 153. 

3 " Lalita Vistara," p. 172. 4 Ibid., p. 264. 
5 Ibid., p. 175. 6 Ibid., p. 179. 7 Ibid., p. 262. 


" The way of freedom." 

" The way of God " (Swayambhu). 

" The way which leads to the Gnosis." x 


" Having collected together a large multitude of trees, 
dowered with virtue, austerity, patience, and brave hearts, and 
sheafed with divine meditation. Mounted in the ship whose 
essence is the adamant, I will pass myself and transport 
countless beings across the flood." 2 


" Though the heavens were to fall to the earth, 
And the great world be swallowed up and pass away ; 
Though Mount Sumeru were to crack to pieces, 
And the great ocean be dried up : 
Yet, Ananda, be assured, 
The words of the Buddha are true." 3 

"FOR THEY SAY AND DO NOT" (Matt, xxiii. 3). 

" As a bright but scentless flower, is the talk of the man 
that speaks but does not act " (" Dhammapada "). 


FRUIT " (Luke vi. 43). 

" The fool is his own enemy, doing the deed that produces 
bitter fruit " (" Dhammapada "). 



(Luke xii. 33). 

" The unchaste, that seek not the divine treasure in youth, 
lament the past, and lie like broken bows " (" Dhammapada "). 

1 " Lalita Vistara," p. 262. 2 Ibid., p. 206. 

3 Beal, "Romantic History," p. n. 


"I SAY UNTO ALL, WATCH" (Mark xii. 37). 
"Watch thine own self. Of the three watches of the 
night, the wise man watches at least through one " (" Dham- 

TION AND EXCESS" (Matt, xxxiii. 25). 

" Why this goat-skin (O Brahmin) and thy matted hair. 
Without is varnish, but within is filth " (" Dhammapada "). 

" Not matted hair, nor birth, nor gold, make the Brahmin, 
but truth and justice. He who has burst the cord and the 
strap, who is awakened, . . . who, being innocent, patiently 
endures abuse, blows, and chains, the awakened man, the 
divine singer, he who overcometh, him I call the Brahmin " 
(" Dhammapada "). 



" Root up the love of self like a lotus in autumn. A 
father, children, kinsmen avail not in the domains of Death. 
As a sleeping village swept off by the torrent is the fate 
of him who trusts in his flocks and family "("Dhammapada "). 

" The cares and fears that come from children, and wives, 
and riches, and houses are like the chains and terrors of 
prison. From one is escape, not from the former " (Sutra, 
in Forty-two Sections). 


" How hardly shall the rich man instruct himself in the 
Way. Who shall have riches and power, and not become 
their slave ? " 

" Beauty and riches are like a sharp blade smeared with 
honey. The child sucks, and is wounded " (Sutra, in Forty- 
two Sections). 





" Who says what is not true goes to hell " (" Dhamma- 


(i Cor. xiii. 12). 

Buddha was once asked, "What are the signs of the 
divine Gnosis (Bodhi)?" He answered that it was like a 
glass cleaned and polished. When the disciple has entered 
the Way and conquered self, the mirror begins to manifest 
itself in all its clearness " (Sutra, in Forty-two Sections). 


"The Lord," "The Lord Buddha (Buddhanath)," "The 
Lord of the Universe (Jagannatha)," l " Saviour," 2 " The 
Adored of Men and Gods," " The Omniscient," " The God 
above Gods," " The King of Remedies," 3 " The Artificer of 
Happiness," 4 "The God-man (Purusha)," 5 "The Father of 
Heaven (Lokabandhu)," 6 "The Father." 7 

In the "Lalita Vistara" the Buddhas of the past come 
down in glorious forms, and thus address him : " Light of the 
world, this vow was made by thee : To the worlds subject 
to old age and death I will be a refuge ! " 8 

Here is another passage; "Good shepherd, full of wisdom, 
deign to guide those who have fallen over the great precipice." 9 


Certain subtle questions were proposed to Buddha, such 
as : What will best conquer the evil passions of man ? W 7 hat 
is the most savoury gift for the alms-bowl of the mendicant ? 
Where is true happiness to be found ? Budhha replied to 
them all with one word, Dharma 10 (the heavenly life). 

1 " Lalita Vistara," p. 126. 2 Ibid ? p I2g> 

Ibid -> P- 6 - 4 Ibid., p. 97. 5 Ibid<) p 335> 

Ibid -> 367. 7 Ibid., p. 351. s Ibid., p. 163. 

9 Ibid., p. 372. 10 Bigandet, p. 225. 


WAS BORN BLIND ? " (John ix. 3). 

Professor Kellogg in his work entitled " The Light of Asia 
and the Light of the World," condemns Buddhism in almost 
all its tenets. But he is especially emphatic in the matter of 
the metempsychosis. The poor and hopeless Buddhist has 
to begin again and again " the weary round of birth and 
death," 1 whilst the righteous Christians go at once into life 
eternal 2 

Now it seems to me that this is an example of the danger 
of contrasting two historical characters when we have a strong 
sympathy for the one and a strong prejudice against the 
other. Professor Kellogg has conjured up a Jesus with nine 
teenth century ideas, and a Buddha who is made responsible 
for all the fancies that were in the world 500 B.C. Professor 
Kellogg is a professor of an American University, and as such 
must know that the doctrine of the gilgal (the Jewish name 
for the metempsychosis) was as universal in Palestine A.D. 30 
as it was in Rajagriha 500 B.C. An able writer in the Church 
Quarterly Rev ieiv of October, 1885, maintains that the Jews 
brought it from Babylon. 3 Dr. Ginsburg, in his work on the 
" Kabbalah," shows that the doctrine continued to be held by 
Jews as late as the ninth century of our era. He shows, 
too, that St. Jerome has recorded that it was "propounded 
amongst the early Christians as an esoteric and traditional 
doctrine." 4 

The author of the article in the Church Quarterly Review, 
in proof of its existence, adduces the question put by the 
disciples of Christ in reference to the man that was born 
blind. And if it was considered that a man could be born 
blind as a punishment for sin, that sin must have been 
plainly committed before his birth. Oddly enough, in the 
"White Lotus of Dharma" there is an account of the healing 
of a blind man, " Because of the sinful conduct of the man 
[in a former birth] this malady has arisen." 5 

1 Page 250. 2 Page 248. 

3 Article, " Esoteric Buddhism." 4 The " Kabbalah," p. 43. 

6 Chap. v. 


But a still more striking instance is given in the case of 
the man sick with the palsy (Luke v. 18). The Jews believed, 
with modern Orientals, that grave diseases like paralysis were 
due, not to physical causes in this life, but to moral causes 
in previous lives. And if the account of the cure of the 
paralytic is to be considered historical, it is quite clear that 
this was Christ s idea when He cured the man, for He dis 
tinctly announced that the cure was effected not by any 
physical processes, but by annulling the " sins " which were 
the cause of his malady. 

Traces of the metempsychosis idea still exist in Catholic 
Christianity. The doctrine of original sin is said by some 
writers to be a modification of it. Certainly the fancy that 
the works of supererogation of their saints can be transferred 
to others is the Buddhist idea of good karma, which is trans 
ferable in a similar manner. 1 

INTO THE DITCH" (MATT. xv. 14). 

" As when a string of blind men are clinging one to the 
other, neither can the foremost see, nor the middle one see, 
nor the hindmost see. Just so, methinks, Vasittha is the talk 
of the Brahmins versed in the Three Vedas " (Buddha in the 
"Tevigga Sutta," i. 15). 

"Tins is A HARD SAYING." 

I have recently come across two passages in two widely 
different works which read rather curiously together. 

The first is from a work recently quoted, " The Light of 
Asia and the Light of the World." In it Professor Kellogg 
condemns Buddha s teaching as u one of the most uncom 
promising and unmitigated systems of pessimism that human 
intellect, in the deep gloom of its ignorance of Him who is 
the Light and Life of men, has ever elaborated." 2 In proof 
of this he cites certain passages from Buddhist books. These 
are the most noteworthy 

1 See Stone, " Christianity before Christ," p. 209. 

2 Page 266. 


" All created things are grief and pain. He who knows 
this becomes passive in pain." 

" So long as the love of man towards woman, even the 
smallest, is not destroyed, so long is his mind in bondage." ] 

Turning to the author of " Jesus Bouddha," we find that 
he brings precisely the same accusations against the " abomi 
nable theories " of Christ. He cites Luke xiv. 26. 

" If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and 
mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, 
and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." 

He adduces also 

" Let the dead bury their dead." 

" Think not that I have come to send peace on earth : I 
come not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set 
a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against 
her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in- 
law. And a man s foes shall be they of his own household " 
(Matt. x. 34-36). 

" And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, 
and the father the child : and the children shall rise up against 
their parents, and cause them to be put to death" (ver. 21). 

" So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not 
all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke xiv. 33). 

The author says that all this is pure nihilism and Essene 
communism. "The most sacred family ties are to be re 
nounced, and man to lose his individuality and become 
a unit in a vast scheme to overturn the institutions of his 

"Qu importeau fanatisme la ruine de la societe humaine." 2 

Now I believe that these two writers would judge that 
they were as far apart as Calvinist and Positivist can possibly 
be, but they have one prominent feature in common, a total 
paralysis of the sympathetic insight which allows a mind to 
wander to a remote past. Whether Christ or Buddha, if they 
were alive now, would seek to make use of modern monastic 
institutions to spiritualize the world is a question that most 
of us would probably answer in the negative. When Christ 
1 Page 227. 2 "Jdsus Bouddha," pp. 244, et seq. 


came, Caesar had recently constructed fine roads all over 
Europe, and along these marched well-drilled armies of 
soldiers and priests, bringing slavery to the nations. Atheism 
was high priest, and mockery the thurifer. Religion consisted 
of puerile ceremonial, and orgies whose records have to be 
concealed in the crypts of modern museums. The greed of 
priests pandered to lasciviousness, drunkenness, gluttony. 
This religion, as Gibbon says, was tolerant, but only as long 
as it was no religion at all. As long as a man sacrificed 
to the statue of Antinous or Commodus he might hold in 
secret loftier views. But if he expressed them he ran the 
risk of meeting the fate of Socrates or St. Paul. 

Now it seems to me that, judged by the canons of the 
lowest expediency, the work of Christ was almost worthy of 
divinity. It was, in a word, to use the great weapon of 
materialism against itself. Materialism had woven a huge 
network of roads to bind tightly together the thrall of the 
civilized world ; and along these roads was to march a new 
army, shoeless, penniless, wifeless, homeless, like the " wan 
derers " of Buddha. It was not until I had made a study of 
Buddhism that I understood the full force of the early Chris 
tian movement. Even from the materialistic point of view, it 
was necessary that the hungry, hunted " apostle " who over 
turned Csesar should be wifeless, childless, without ties, or he 
could not have done his work. Neither could he have done 
it without some new and potent inner force. Thus with 
Christ, as with Buddha, the first step towards emancipating 
society was to spiritualize the individual. With the Nazarites 
were no half measures. There were two cities. In the 
first city might be found ease and comfort, and material 
schemes and dreams. Its denizens married and were given in 
marriage. They lived in rich houses, and aspired to robes of 
dignity. The other city was tenanted by beggars. Its robes 
of dignity were rags ; its guerdon was hunger and thirst ; 
stripes and death were its day-dreams. But until a man could 
thoroughly understand that there was no possible connection 
between these two cities, he could not be a son of the mystic 


Feeding the Multitudes Similarity to Buddhist Festivals Feet-washing 
Walking on the Water Parables Dress. 


IN the " Lalita Vistara," it is announced that those who 
have faith will become sons of Buddha, and partake of the 
" food of the kingdom." l Four things draw disciples to his 
banquet gifts, soft words, production of benefits, conformity 
of benefits. 2 The banquet of Buddha is the great festival of 
contrition (Nyungue). 

This festival throws much light on the accounts that we 
have of the multitudes collected by Christ and John the 
Baptist. The yearly festivals of the Buddhists, even as late 
as the date of Hwen Thsang, the Chinese pilgrim, were taken 
advantage of for the purpose of proselytizing. Religious 
debates were encouraged ; as also at the old festivals of the 
India of the Brahmins. At the great feast of Nyungue, in 
Tibet, the first day is passed in prayers and in the reading 
of passages of scripture, to which the laity as well as the 
lamas are invited. They must wear clean garments well 
washed, and each bring his rosary and his cup. The second 
day is called Chorva (the Preparation), and all prostrate them 
selves to the supreme " Lotus Holder " at sunrise, as the 
healers fell down before the Sun of Righteousness. Then 
the chief Lama solemnly urges all to confess their sins and 
amend their vicious lives. The day is also chiefly passed in 
prayer ; tea, and a rude vegetable dinner being served out at 

1 " Lalita Vistara," p. 97. 2 Ibid., p. 51. 


two o clock. The third day is called "the Reality," and is 
a complete fast-day of twenty-four hours. These Buddhist 
festivals, with their lamps and night service and mighty 
crowds, enable us to picture to ourselves the prayers and 
preachings and illuminated boats on the Lake Mareotis. 
They explain how it was that such vast multitudes crop up so 
suddenly in starved-out, desolate regions. 

"Jesus called his disciples unto Him, and saith unto them, 
I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now 
been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat : And if I 
send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint 
by the way : for divers of them came from far. And His 
disciples answered Him, From whence can a man satisfy these 
men with bread here in the wilderness ? And He asked them, 
How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. And 
He commanded the people to sit down on the ground : and 
He took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and 
gave to His disciples to set before them ; and they did set 
them before the people. And they had a few small fishes : 
and He blessed, and commanded to set them also before 
them. So they did eat, and were filled : and they took up of 
the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that 
had eaten were about four thousand : and He sent them 
away " (Mark viii. 1-9). 

The fourth gospel, in recording the same transaction, adds 
an important detail 

"After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, 
which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed 
Him, because they saw His miracles which He did on them 
that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and 
there He sat with His disciples. And the passover, a feast of 
the Jews, was nigh " (John vi. 1-4). 

Plainly the two passages record the Essene feast of the 
Passover. We saw from Philo s letter to Hephsstion that 
the Therapeuts celebrated their own great festivals instead of 
repairing to Jerusalem. We see, from the account in St. John s 
Gospel, that the Passover was close at hand just before the 
great multitude came to Christ, four thousand souls, the exact 


number of the Essenes, according to Josephus. We see that 
the fast lasted three days. 

" Listen to my words, O chosen ones. Observe the great 
Fast that Fast that contemns the food and drink of this 
mortal world." 1 

A friend of mine, Major Keith, the designer of the fine stone 
gateway so much admired in the recent Indian and Colonial 
Exhibition, having done a kindness to the Jains in India, was 
allowed to witness one of their great feasts. The Jains are 
a sect of schismatic Buddhists, who were on that account 
spared when the rest of the Buddhists were turned out of India. 
The privilege of seeing their great festival was never before 
granted to an Englishman. After their fast they were fed, 
when they had sat down upon the grass by hundreds and by 
fifties. The passage of scripture (Mark vi. 40) came forcibly 
into Major Keith s mind. 


King Sudarsana was a model king. In his dominions 
was no killing or whipping as punishment ; no soldiers 
weapons to torture or destroy. His city, Jambunada, was 
built of crystal and cornelian, and silver and yellow gold. 
A Buddha 2 visited it one day. 

Now in that city was a man who was the next day to be 
married, and he much wished the Buddha to come to the 
feast. Buddha passing by, read his silent wish, and consented 
to come. The bridegroom was overjoyed, and scattered many 
flowers over his house and sprinkled it with perfumes. 

The next day, Buddha, with his alms-bowl in his hand and 
with a retinue of many followers, arrived ; and when they had 
taken their seats in due order, the host distributed every kind 
of exquisite food, saying, " Eat, my lord, and all the congre 
gation, according to your desire ! " 

But now a marvel presented itself to the astonished mind 

of the host. Although all these holy men ate very heartily, 

the meats and the drinks remained positively quite un- 

diminished ; whereupon he argued in his mind, " If I could 

1 " Book of Adam," p. 35. 2 Not Sakya Muni. 


only invite all my kinsmen to come, the banquet would be 
sufficient for them likewise." 

And now another marvel was presented. Buddha read 
the good man s thought, and all the relatives, without invitation, 
streamed in at the door. They, also, fed heartily on the 
miraculous food. It is almost needless to add that the Chinese 
book " Fu-pen-hing-tsi-king " (as translated by the invaluable 
Mr. Beal) announces that all these guests, having heard a few 
apposite remarks on Dharma from the lips of the Tathagata, 
to the satisfaction of everybody (excepting, perhaps, the poor 
bride), donned the yellow robes. 


Christ gave an example of the great truth, that to perform 
menial acts, is more godlike than to receive them. Just 
before the last supper (John xiii. 5), He took a towel and 
washed the feet of all His disciples. 

It is recorded in the " Chinese Dhammapada," that in a 
monastery near Peshawur, there was an old monk with a 
disease so loathsome that none of his brother-monks could 
come near him. Everything was poisoned with the smell 
and virus of his disorder. Buddha came to the monastery, 
and hearing how matters stood, went in and carefully washed 
the body of this poor old monk, and attended to his disorders. 
" The purpose of Tathagata, in coming to the world," he said, 
" is to befriend the poor, the helpless, the unprotected ; to 
nourish those in bodily affliction, to help the orphan and the 
aged." 1 


The incident of Peter walking on the water (Matt. xiv. 28) 
has its counterpart in the " Chinese Dhammapada." 

" O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ? " said 
Christ, when His apostle, for want of faith, was sinking. 

Buddha was once preaching on the banks of a broad and 

1 Beal, " Chinese Dhammapada," p. 94. 


deep river near Sravasti. The people there were unbelievers. 
Suddenly, to their astonishment, a man was seen crossing the 
river by walking on the surface of the water. " What means 
this portent?" they said to the man. He gave answer, that 
being unable to procure a boat, and wishing to hear the 
preaching of Buddha, he had boldly walked over " because he 

Buddha took advantage of the miracle : " Faith can cross 
the flood. Wisdom lands us on the other shore." The un 
believers were promptly converted. 1 

There is another Buddhist legend that may be of interest 
here. Purna, a disciple of Buddha, had a brother once in 
imminent danger of shipwreck in a "black storm." "The 
spirits that were faithful to Purna, the Arya," apprised him of 
this. At once he performed the miracle of transporting him 
self to the deck of the ship. " Immediately the black tempest 
ceased, as if Sumern had arrested it." 2 

The penitent thief, too, is to be heard of in Buddhism. 
Buddha confronts a cruel bandit in his mountain retreat and 
converts him. All great movements, said St. Simon, must 
begin by working on the emotion of the masses. In the 
" Chinese Dhammapada," there is a pretty story of a very 
beautiful Magdalen who had heard of Buddha, and who 
started off to hear him preach. On the way, however, she 
saw her beautiful face in a fountain near which she stopped 
to drink, and she was unable to carry out her good resolution. 
As she was returning, she was overtaken by a courtesan still 
more beautiful than herself, and they journeyed together. 
Resting for a while at another fountain, the beautiful stranger 
was overcome with sleep, and placed her head on her fellow- 
traveller s lap. Suddenly the beautiful face became livid as 
a corpse, loathsome, a prey to hateful insects. The stranger 
was the great Buddha himself, who had put on this appear 
ance to redeem poor Pundari. 3 " There is a loveliness that is 
like a beautiful jar full of filth, a beauty that belongs to eyes, 

1 Beal, " Chinese Dhammapada," p. 50. 

2 Burnouf, Introduction, etc., p. 229. 

3 Beal, " Chinese Dhammapada," p. 35. 


nose, mouth, body. It is this womanly beauty that causes 
sorrow, divides families, kills children." These words, uttered 
by the great teacher on another occasion, were perhaps re 
tailed a second time for the Buddhist Magna Civitatis Pecca- 
trix. 1 


Buddha, like Christ, taught in parables. I give three or 
four which have been considered more or less like certain 
parables in the New Testament. For a collection of very 
beautiful ones, I beg to refer the reader to the " Popular Life 
of Buddha." 



Angati, a king in Miyala (Tirhut), had a daughter, Rucha. 
At first he lived piously, but one day he heard some false 
teachers who declared that there is no future world, and that 
man, after death, is resolved into water and the other ele 
ments. After this he thought it was better to enjoy the 
present moment, and he became cruel. 

One day Rucha went to the king and requested him to 
give her one thousand masurans, as the next day was a 
festival and she wished to make an offering. The king re 
plied that there was no future world, no reward for merit ; 
religious rites were useless, and it was better to enjoy herself 
in the present world. 

Now Rucha possessed the inner vision, and was able to 
trace back her life through fourteen previous existences. She 
told the king that she had once been a nobleman, but an 
adulterer, and as a punishment she was now only a woman. 
As a further punishment, she had been a monkey, a bullock, 
a goat, and had been once born into the Rowra hell. The 
king, unwilling to be taught by a woman, continued to be 
a sceptic. Rucha then, by the power of the Satcha Kirya 
(incantation), summoned a spirit to her aid, and Buddha him 
self, in the form of an ascetic, arrived at the city. The king 
1 Beal, " Chinese Dhammapada." p. 48. 



asked him from whence he came. The ascetic replied that 
he came from the other world. The king in answer, laugh 
ingly said 

" If you have come from the other world, lend me one 
hundred masurans, and when I go to that world I will give 
you a thousand." 

Buddha answered gravely 

" When any one lends money, it must be to the rich. If 
he bestow money on the poor, it is a gift, for the poor cannot 
repay. I cannot lend you, therefore, one hundred masurans 
for you are poor and destitute." 

"You utter an untruth," said the king, angrily. "Does 
not this rich city belong to me?" 

The Buddha replied 

" In a short time, O king, you will die. Can you take 
your wealth with you to hell ? There you will be in un 
speakable misery, without raiment, without food. How, then, 
can you pay me my debt ? " 

At this moment, on the face of Buddha was a strange 
light which dazzled the king. 


A certain man had a son who went away into a far 
country. There he became miserably poor. The father, 
however, grew rich, and accumulated much gold and treasure, 
and many storehouses and elephants. But he tenderly loved 
his lost son, and secretly lamented that he had no one to 
whom to leave his palaces and suvernas at his death. 

After many years, the poor man, in search of food and 
clothing, happened to come to the country where his father 
had great possessions. And when he was afar off his father 
saw him, and reflected thus in his mind : " If I at once ac 
knowledge my son and give to him my gold and my treasures, 
I shall do him a great injury. He is ignorant and undis 
ciplined ; he is poor and brutalized. With one of such 
miserable inclinations twere better to educate the mind little 
by little. I will make him one of my hired servants." 

1 This is the title adopted in the translation of M. Foucaux. 


Then the son, famished and in rags, arrived at the door 
of his father s house, and seeing a great throne upraised and 
many followers doing homage to him who sat upon it, was 
awed by the pomp and the wealth around. Instantly he fled 
once more to the highway. "This," he thought, "is the 
house of the poor man. If I stay at the palace of the king 
perhaps I shall be thrown into prison." 

Then the father sent messengers after his son ; who was 
caught and brought back in spite of his cries and lamenta 
tions. When he reached his father s house, he fell down faint 
ing with fear, not recognizing his father, and believing that 
he was about to suffer some cruel punishment. The father 
ordered his servants to deal tenderly with the poor man, and 
sent two labourers of his own rank of life to engage him as a 
servant on the estate. They gave him a broom and a basket, 
and engaged him to clean up the dung-heap at a double wage. 

From the window of his palace the rich man watched his 
son at his work ; and disguising himself one day as a poor 
man, and covering his limbs with dust and dirt, he approached 
his son, and said, " Stay here, good man, and I will provide 
you with food and clothing. You are honest, you are 
industrious. Look upon me as your father." 

After many years, the father felt his end approaching, and 
he summoned his son and the officers of the king, and 
announced to them the secret that he had so long kept. The 
poor man was really his son, who in early days had wandered 
away from him ; and now that he was conscious of his former 
debased condition, and was able to appreciate and retain vast 
wealth, he was determined to hand over to him his entire 
treasure. The poor man was astonished at this sudden change 
of fortune, and overjoyed at meeting his father once more. 

The parables of Buddha are reported in the " Lotus of the 
Perfect Law " to be veiled from the ignorant by means of an 
enigmatic form of language. 1 The rich man of this parable, 
with his throne adorned by flowers and garlands of jewels, is 
announced to be Tathagata, who dearly loves all his children, 
and has prepared for them vast spiritual treasures. But each 

1 " Lotus," p. 45. 


son of Tathagata has miserable inclinations. He prefers the 
dung-heap to the pearl mani. To teach such a man 
Tathagata is obliged to employ inferior agents, the monk and 
the ascetic, and to wean him by degrees from the lower 
objects of desire. When he speaks himself, he is forced to 
veil much of his thought, as it would not be understood. 
His sons feel no joy on hearing spiritual things. Little by 
little must their minds be trained and disciplined for higher 


Once upon a time there was a man born blind, and he 
said, " I cannot believe in a world of appearances. Colours 
bright or sombre exist not. There is no sun, no moon, no 
stars. None have witnessed such things ! " His friends 
remonstrated with him, but all in vain. He still repeated the 
same words. 

In those days there was a holy man cunning in roots and 
herbs, one who had acquired supernatural gifts by a life of 
purity and abstinence. This man perceived by his spiritual 
insight that away amongst the clouds on the steeps of the 
lofty Himalayas were four simples that had power to cure 
the man who was born blind. He fetched these simples, and, 
mashing them together with his teeth, he applied them. Im 
mediately the man who was born blind was cured of his 
infirmity. He saw colours and appearances. He saw the 
bright sun in the heavens. He was overjoyed, and pro 
nounced that no one now had any advantage over him in the 
matter of eyesight. 

Then certain holy men came to the man who had been 
born blind, and said to him, " You are vain and arrogant, and 
nearly as blind as you were before. You see the outside of 
things but not the inside. One whose supernatural senses are 
quickened sees the lapis-lazuli fields of the Buddhas and 
hears conch-shells sounded at a distance of five yoganas. Go 
off to a desert, a forest, a cavern in the mountains, and 
conquer this thirst for earthly things." The man who was 


born blind did as these holy men enjoined, and by-and-by 
acquired the supernatural gifts. 

The interpretati9n of this parable is, that the man who is 
born blind is one afflicted with the blindness of spiritual 
ignorance. Tathagata is the great physician who loves him 
as a father loves a son. The four simples are the four holy 
truths. The holy men who accosted him are the great rishis, 
who teach the spiritual life in caves and in deserts, and wean 
mankind from the love of lower things. 


Ananda, the loved disciple of Buddha, was once thirsty, 
having travelled far. At a well he encountered a girl named 
Matanga, and asked her to give him some water to drink. 
But she, being a woman of low caste, was afraid of contami 
nating a holy Brahmin, and refused humbly. 

" I ask not for caste, but for water," said Ananda. His 
condescension won the heart of the girl Matanga. It happened 
that she had a mother cunning in love philtres and weird arts, 
and when this woman heard how much her daughter was in 
love, she threw her magic spells round the disciple, and 
brought him to her cave. Helpless, he prayed to Buddha, 
who forthwith appeared and cast out the wicked demons. 

But the girl Matanga was still in wretched plight. At 
last she determined to appeal to Buddha himself. 

The great physician, reading the poor girl s thought, 
questioned her gently 

" Supposing that you marry my disciple, an you follow 
him everywhere ? " 

" Everywhere ! " said the girl. 

" Could you wear his clothes, sleep under the same roof? " 
said Buddha, alluding to the nakedness and beggary of the 
"houseless one." 

By slow degrees the girl began to take in his meaning 
and at last took refuge in the Divine Triad. 1 

I give three new parables of great beauty. 

1 Burnouf, Introduction, etc., p. 183. 



1 There was a king renowned in Indian story ; 

With bow and brand 
He spread abroad the record of his glory 
In every land. 

" Grey warriors said, O ne er was such a leader, 

Wary and bold ! 

He had a palace built of scented cedar 
Fretted with gold. 

" One hundred courts with trees and plashing fountains 

And marble screens, 

Rare flowers, like those of the Kailasa mountains, 
A thousand queens. 

"He died, and from this world of adulations 

Was borne alone, 

What time court poets sang their base laudations 
To Buddha s throne. 

" Said Buddha, What of this man is recorded ? 

An angel read ; 

It was a tale of woe, blood-stained and sordid, 
A wail of the dead. 

" O er many a city once the home of freeman 

The ivy twines ; 

Each daughter and each wife was made a leman; 
Men slaved in mines 

" To spread the royal dress with many a jewel, 

So thick they stood ; 

Each diamond was a tear, congealed and cruel, 
Each ruby blood. 

" A million slaves reared up a pompous building 

Ten thousand died 

Of marble lace-work, flecked with gems and gilding 
The Fane of Pride. 

" Vast crowds were butchered for his entertainment 

In war and shows ; 

They march in legions to his huge arraignment, 
Vassals and foes. 

" Fetch him the Mirror ! On its surface speckless 

He gazed with dread, 

And saw a false old man, malformed and feckless, 
With brainless head. 



" O, who shall gaze upon that vision awful, 

The naked truth 

Limned by himself, limned by his deeds unlawful 
In age and youth ! 

" Said Buddha, Is there nothing true nor loyal 

In any page? 

Once/ said the angel, in a province royal 
A plague did rage, 

" And in the sun a dying pig was craning 

To reach the shade. 

The king said, " Watch those eyes of mute complaining, 
And give it aid ! " 

" But o er the courtiers was a deep dejection ; 

Twas Death s grim feast. 

The king sprang down, and, heedless of infection, 
Moved the poor beast. " 

" Said Buddha then majestic in his kindness, 

He is forgiven! 

That deed wipes out the record of his blindness, 
And wins him heaven ! " 

Victor Hugo has made the king a Mussulman, but if one 
of the faithful had touched an unclean pig, such an act would 
have counterbalanced, not a life of evil deeds, but a life of 
good deeds. 


" Once to a mighty king in ancient Ind 
Were born two sons ; Kshemankara, the first, 
Was brave and just and truthful, dear to all. 
One day the daughter of a king, concealed 
Behind the purdah, chanced to hear his voice ; 
She said, He is my husband he or none. 
Papankara, his brother, hated him, 
Papankara, whom jackals, kites, and swine 
Greeted with evil noises at his birth. 
The king one day spake to his elder boy : 
A sweet princess would wed thee, and her sire 
Has urged this union. Marry her my son ! 
Kshemankara replied, An idle prince 
Brings little luck or joy to any one ; 
Give me a ship, and let me sail abroad 
And see far countries, bringing back their wealth, 


Rare stones and silks and produce to my bride. 

The king consented ; and a goodly prow, 

With bamboo masts and sails of shining stuffs, 

Crept through lethargic seas and anchored now 

By islands of rich gums and cinnamon, 

And now near purple mountains velvety 

What time the sun behind a screen of mist 

Steeps sea and sky in floods of liquid gold. 

There did Kshemankara collect his gems, 

Moving his brother s gall. He too had come. 

But lo ! a mighty change is o er the sea : 

A dread tuffan is whistling through the shrouds, 

The waves are giant, and the bellowing cloud 

Chases the blood from the young brother s cheek. 

They neared not safety, but an island grim. 

The elder brother said : Cling to my waist ! 

And with wet bales and spars of sandal wood 

The pair were promptly tossing in the foam. 

At length they landed ; and the vast fatigue 

Of swimming made the elder brother sleep. 

The younger chose two thorns, and drove them through 

His brother s eyes ; and taking from his waist 

A girdle filled with peails, announced his death. 

Ten months have passed. To-day a fair princess 
Must choose a husband tis her sire s decree 
And in bright tents are many sons of kings, 
The king Papankara, whose sire is dead, 
To win a smile from her who smiles no more. 
Drums sound, the trumpets blare, and once or twice 
Was heard a low voice singing to a lute. 
Up sprang the princess : Tis my husband s voice/ 
The angry king said, Fetch that singer here ! 
He was a beggar grimed and blind. Again 
The princess said, That is my husband there ! 
The suitors loudly laughed, but in their midst 
The princess stood and raised her hands to heaven : 
Spirits invisible that watch our acts, 
That I have loved the Prince Kshemankara, 
And clung to him through love and through despair, 
Give evidence by a portentous act, 
Restore the vision to one wounded eye ! 
And lo, the beggar saw, and fear seized all. 
Then said Papankara, A kingly bride 
Requires a kingly spouse. The Shasters rule 
That such must have two eyes, in limbs be perfect ; 
This cannot be the prince. I saw him die. 
The beggar then raised up his hands to heaven : 


* A kingly ruler first must rule himself, 

If in the presence of a mighty wrong 

I nourish hate to none ; if schooled by care 

And thirst and hunger, trusty councillors, 

I have been trained to rule the sad and hungry ; 

Spirits invisible complete your task, 

Restore my other eye ! At once he saw. 

Thus was Papankara hurled from his throne, 

And at the jousts the princess chose her spouse." 


" A vain young Brahmin once was told 
Of holy spells that made red gold ; 
This fancy vexed him day and night, 
His life was gross, his heart was light. 
Said one, In Uravilva s wood 
There dwells the Buddha, calm and good. 
He knows all secrets. Ask his aid ! 
The Brahmin sought the holy shade 
Said Buddha, * What you wish, my son, 
May most undoubtedly be done. 
But gold is crime ! It whets the knife ; 
Designs the drops that poison life. 
It parents lust, and hate, and ire ; 
For gold the son will kill the sire, 
For gold the maiden sell her shame, 
Kings spread wide lands with sword and flame ; 
The sons of Dharma never tell 
Their mantras and their potent spell 
Except to those whose lives are pure, 
To those who ve conquered earthly lure, 
Who know in fact the gold s true worth, 
The tawdriest tinsel upon earth. 
The Brahmin said, My life is pure, 
I ve conquered every earthly lure ; 
Who, like a Brahmin, knows the right ! 
His life was gross, his heart was light. 
One night the couple when the moon 
Hides for two weeks her light in June 
(The only fortnight in the year 
When man can make red gold appear), 
Sought out a cavern, where a rill 
Dashed down a chasm in the hill ; 
The mantras now were promptly told, 
And Buddha spread the ground with gold, 
Six thousand pieces the amount, 
A robber saw the Brahmin count. 

PARABLES, 1 8 1 

Then Buddha hurled it in the foam, 

Repeating as he journeyed home 

His solemn caution : Son, beware ! 

Use not this knowledge, have a care ! 

But as they trudged, at break of day, 

Five hundred robbers barred the way ! 

O holy masters, we are told, 

They said, that you have countless gold. 

Said Buddha, Gold sheds human blood, 

And so we flung it in the flood. 

The chieftain said, Such words are vain 

And one as hostage must remain 

The younger one. So promptly hie 

And fetch the gold, or he must die, 

Within a week he will be slain ! 

Within a week I come again, 

Said Buddha, Fear not, Brahmin youth, 

A Buddha s tongue is simple truth. 

Grim terror pales the young man s brow, 

Will the great Buddha keep his vow ? 

Five days have passed away too soon, 

To-night will end the weeks in June 

When spells can work ; and if he wait, 

To-morrow will be all too late. 

O take me to the rocky dell, 

To-night I ll work a mystic spell. 

The gold was made. Quick spread its fame, 

A rival band of robbers came ; 

Divide or fight ! they loudly cried, 

When the broad pieces they espied. 

He made this gold, the first clan said, 

We give him up to you instead. 

O pity now the Brahmin s fate, 

He thinks of Buddha s word too late. 

Though all unfit the time of year, 

The greedy robbers will not hear, 

They cut his throat ; and then assail 

Their rivals for their lying tale. 

Swords flash and fall on sounding crest, 

On cloven targe, and stricken breast, 

Sharp cries of anguish over all 

Outroar the angry waterfall, 

Whose snowy stream is soon a flood 

Of dying men and human blood, 

Borne off to Yama s realm of death ; 

Two robbers soon alone draw breath. 

Exhausted with three days of fast, 


They watch the gold. Says one at last, 
" You guard the cave ; but we must eat. 
I ll to the town for drink and meat." 
One hied him to a leech s stock, 
One nursed a dagger by a rock ; 
Each muttered, " Soon tis all mine own ! " 
One perished, stabbed without a groan ; 
The other seized his drink and meat 
And soon was writhing at his feet. 


Of the close resemblance between the dress of Buddhist 
monks and Romish priests we have the best possible evidence, 
that of the Roman Catholic priests in many lands from the 
earliest times. 

Father Grueber, who visited Tibet in 1661, has recorded 
that the dress of the lamas corresponded with that handed 
down to us in ancient paintings as the dress of the apostles. 1 

Now let us listen to the Abbe Hue 

" If the person of the grand lama struck us little, I cannot 
say the same of his dress, which in every detail was that of 
our own bishops. He wore on his head a yellow mitre. In 
his right hand was a staff in the form of the crosier. His 
shoulders were covered with a cloak of violet silk, fastened 
across the chest with a hook, and resembling our cope. Later 
on we will point out many similarities between Catholic and 
Lamanesque rites." 2 

This lama was not the Delai lama. 

In the " Life of Gabriel Durand " occurs an extract of a 
letter from Father Ephrem, written in 1883 

"There (in the Bell Pagoda, Pekin) we saw a Chinese 
priest dressed almost pin for pin like a Benedictine monk." 3 

I copy two Japanese monks from Siebold s "Nippon." 
(See Plate VI.) 

" Much of the costume of the Buddhist priests," says 
Balfour s " Indian Cyclopaedia," "and of the ritual, has a simi 
larity to those of Christians of the Romish and Greek forms ; 

1 Cited by Prinsep, " Tibet, Tartary," etc. p. 14. 

2 "Voyage dans la Tartarie," etc. vol. ii. 

3 "Gabriel Durand," vol. i. p. 493. 





and De Guignes, De Gama, Clavijo, Anthony Jenkinson, all 
notice statements regarding the Greek Church, the Chinese, 
and the Burmans, indicative of the belief in the identity of 
the form of worship." Sir Rutherford Alcock bears similar 
testimony to this identity of costume " amongst the priests, 
acolytes, and choristers." The missionaries of St. Francis 
Xavier were struck with it. 

" Two systems and ceremonials of worship presenting such 
marvellous identity in small particulars, and in larger cha 
racteristics, could not possibly have been born of chance and 
wholly independent the one of the other." 1 

In point of fact, the Abbe Hue tells us that the Buddhist 
priests of Tibet have the dalmatic and the cope exactly like 
the Roman Catholics. 

These two garments have played a conspicuous part in all 
the mystic societies of the West. The dalmatic is the close- 
fitting white garment which envelopes the person from the 
neck to the heels. The cope, called also pluvial, in French ; 
peviale, in Italian, is the rain cloak. Both were worn by 
Buddha. (See Plate V. p. 140.) 

According to Philo, the Therapeuts of Alexandria had two 
garments, "a thick cloak of some shaggy felt for winter, and 
a sleeveless vest, or fine linen garment, for summer." 

" Put on your stoles and white garments, O peacemakers, 
symbols of the Water of Life." 

This is from the " Book of Adam," and was addressed to 
the disciples of John the Baptist. Do we not learn also that 
their leader had a raiment of camel s hair. 

" If any man sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, 
let him have thy cloke also " (Matt. v. 40). This cloke may 
also be the garment "without seam" of Jesus that the four 
executioners cast lots for (John xix. 23). 

We know from history that the early dress of the Chris 
tians, like that of the Essenes, was white. Many passages in 
the gospels support this statement. I quote one (Rev. iii. 17.) 
whose Essenism is very pronounced. 

" Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, 
1 " Capital of the Tycoon," vol. ii. p. 310. 


and have need of nothing ; and knowest not that thou art 
wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I 
counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou 
mayest be rich ; and white raiment, that thou mayest be 
clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear ; 
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." 
Here is another passage (Matt. x. 10) 
" Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 
nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes." 

This seems to show that Christ s disciples went barefooted 
like early Christian and early Buddhist monks, and had only 
one "coat" (dalmatic) like the Essenes. 

In the Daily News of May 3Oth, 1885, appeared an account 
of a ceremony that takes place every Whit Monday, at 
Argenteuil, in France. A portion of the Saviour s robe is 
carried in procession in a golden casket in the presence of 
many of the most high-born Catholics of France and England. 
This fragment is made of camel s hair, is dark brown in colour, 
and of stuff very like that of a garment worn by modern 
Arabs. Pius IX. begged a little fragment of it, which shows 
that it is thought authentic. I mention this to show an early 
tradition of the Church. In the days of St. Antony, Christian 
monks still wore a garment of camel s hair. 

The Buddhist nuns have the black and the white veil, but 
these, as in Spain, are for protection against heat in summer, 
and cold in winter. They do not denote spiritual grades. 
The nun with the white veil I copied from Siebold s " Nippon;" J 
the nun with the black veil from a photograph. In the 
Greek Church the nuns have similar long sleeves to hide their 
hands. (See Plate VII.) 

1 Siebold, " Archiv zur Beschreibung von Japan." 

( 185 ) 


Christianity and Buddhism at first propagated secretly Descent into 
Hell Transfiguration on a mount Triumphal entry into the "City 
of the King" The Buddhist "Last Supper" Cup of Agony Por 
tents at the death of a Buddha "They parted my garments" 
Trinity in Unity. 


How was Buddhism spread by Buddha ? 

A vivacious critic, in a print called the Indian Antiquary, 
has charged me with "crass" ignorance and other unkind 
things, because I assert that Buddhism, in the first instance, 
made its progress as a secret society. The critic points 
triumphantly to the abundant chronicles of the Southern 
Buddhists, where every step of the reformer and his movement 
is set down. 

I wish I could agree with my critic, and accept these 
chronicles without critical sifting. According to them, 
Buddha first preached the law in a deer forest, about four 
miles to the north of the holy city of Benares. The spot is 
called Sarnath (Sarugganatha, the " Lord of Deer") to this 
day. Asoka built a splendid temple in this wilderness. The 
dome is ninety-three feet in diameter, and its imposing mass 
still dominates the plain. Pilgrims from China have visited 
it ; and pilgrims from all countries in the world go to it still. 
It is called Dhamek, a corruption for the Temple of Dharma. 
Now, the Cingalese historian, evidently writing long after 
this temple of Dharma had become famous, makes Buddha 


put up in a fine temple and vihara in a " suburb of Benares " 
during the first rainy season after his conversion. 

Benares was already the most holy city of the Hindoos, 
and yet it is recorded that Buddha preached openly against 
the Brahmin religion, and made sixty-one converts. 

He then proceeded to the powerful Brahmin kingdom of 
Magadha, and arrived at the capital, Rajagriha, attended by 
over a thousand followers. The king at once became a 
convert, with a large proportion of his subjects ; and handed 
over to Buddha the grove in which the celebrated Venuvana 
Monastery was afterwards situated. The Cingalese writer 
does not take the trouble to say a word about the building of 
it, being evidently under an impression that it was already 
there. Five months after Buddha had attained the Bodhi he 
started off to Kapilavastu, a distance of sixty leagues, to see 
his father. He was accompanied by twenty thousand yellow- 
robed shaven bhikshus ; and he marched along the high-roads 
of the various Brahmin kingdoms that were on his road 
without any molestation. At Kapilavastu, he found another 
fine vihara ready for him ; and the bulk of the nation and the 
king became converts to his religion. He returned shortly to 
Rajagriha to find a convenient merchant ready at once to 
hand over to him the rich vihara, or monastery, of Jetavana 
at Sravasti (Sahet Mahet). Buddha went at once to the spot ; 
and this time the chronicler allows a vihara to be built, a new 
one, he again fancying apparently that one was there. There 
was " a pleasant room for the sage," separate apartments for 
"eighty elders," and "other residences with single and double 
walls, and long halls and open roofs ornamented with ducks 
and quails ; and ponds also he made, and terraces to walk on 
by day and by night." 2 

When Buddha arrived at Sravasti, this convent was 
dedicated to him by the merchant, who went through a 
formula well known in the ancient inscriptions of Ceylon. 
He poured water out of a bowl, and made over the land to 
the monks. Then a gorgeous festival took place, which lasted 
nine months. Exactly five hundred and forty millions of 
1 "Buddhist Birth Stones," p. 91. 2 Ibid., p. 130. 


gold pieces were expended on this feast and on the convent ; 
so that we may presume, I suppose, that most of the inhabi 
tants of the powerful Brahmin kingdom of Sravasti had 
become converts. Thus, in less than a year, Buddha had 
practically converted the Brahmin kingdoms that stretch from 
Sravasti (Sahet Mahet) to Gaya. 

In a word, his creed had already won what is called the 
Holy Land of the Buddhists. 

Is all this true ? Even by lopping off Eastern exaggera 
tions and accretions, can we reduce it in any way to a 
plausible story ? 

I say that the task is impossible. If in the holiest city of 
the Hindoos Buddha had proclaimed that there was no God, 
and in a complete and categorical manner had announced that 
man had no soul nor anything of any sort that existed after 
death, the cruel laws of the Brahmins against heresy would 
have been put in force against him. Dr. Rhys Davids con 
tends that it is proved by the Upanishads that "absolute 
freedom of thought " existed in ancient India. 1 But the 
Upanishads were secret he forgets that. They were whis 
pered to pupils who had passed through a severe probation. 
Magasthenes, the Greek ambassador to Patna, bears witness 
to this. 2 

Bishop Bigandet accounts for the rise of Buddhism, by 
supposing that it was at once adopted as the official religion 
in Magadha. Then there are theories abroad that some of 
the kingdoms of India were Turanian, and their creeds were 
Jinism, or some non-Brahminic religion. And it is affirmed 
that some of these monarchs befriended Buddha. In the way 
of all these theories stand the Asoka stones. They distinctly 
record that the Brahminism of the animal sacrifice was the 
official creed all over India until Asoka superseded it. It is 
to be remembered that Patna was his capital, which is in the 
very heart of the Holy Land of the Buddhists; so the king 
could no more make a mistake about the official creed of the 
neighbouring Magadha than the Archbishop of Canterbury 

1 " Hibbert Lectures," p. 26. 

2 Cory, "Ancient Fragments," p. 225. 


be wrong about the official creed of Sussex. The Atthakatha 
in tracing his history also confesses that the official religion 
was Brahmin up to the king s conversion. 1 

The question of the great missionary success of early 
Buddhism is no doubt a difficult one. The enormous area 
conquered by it at the date when Asoka made it an official 
creed seems to indicate a victory already won. Asoka was a 
politician. He had swum to the throne in the blood of many 
slaughtered brothers. He seems scarcely the man to have 
offended the powerful Brahmin priesthoods of every kingdom 
in India, except under the pressure of a more potent force. 
If the formidable " Sons of Dharma " had silently undermined 
these kingdoms, and a vast organization able to make and 
unmake kings, united, secret, terribly in earnest, had revealed 
themselves to him, his proceedings are intelligible, not 
otherwise. The vast empires of the palmy days of 
Indian Buddhism were found unattainable by the most gory 

In this matter we are not quite without historical data. 
China was officially converted A.D. 61, by the apparition of a 
" golden man," " a spirit named Foe." The Emperor Mingti 
on perceiving this " golden man " at once made his religion 
the official creed. But in the notes of Klaproth and De 
Remusat to their translation of the " Pilgrimage of Fa Hian," 2 
it is made quite clear that Buddhism came to China nearly 
two hundred years earlier. Lassen believes that it reached 
Babylon 250 B.C. Buddha s name is mentioned with praise 
in the " Zend Avesta," u Go ye into all the world and preach 
Dharma ! " said Buddha. 

It seems to me that the biographies of Jesus and Buddha 
throw constant light the one on the other. We know the 
fearful oaths of secrecy enjoined on Christians in the Clemen 
tine " Homilies ; " and we remember the many earnest injunc 
tions of Christ in the direction of a similar caution. When 
I was a little boy I could never understand this excess of 
caution as applied to the parables. Why was it so necessary 
to keep secret the fact that the seed in the parable of the 

1 Journ. Ben. As. Soc., vol. vi. p. 731. l Page 40, et seq. 

SECRECY. 1 89 

sower signified the Word of God ? But if by " Word of God," 
Christ meant that Word as interpreted by the Jewish mystics, 
such caution was of course necessary, for hearer and utterer 
ran great danger of being stoned. Christianity for many 
years after its founder s death was a secret society, and the 
catechumens were rigidly excluded from its mystic rites. 
The author of " Jesus Bouddha " holds that Christ s speech 
about the kingdom of heaven coming " not with observation " 
(sans eclat), and the Son of man appearing in the lifetime of 
the living generation, was an allusion to the speedy success of 
his secret propagandism. 1 The " Son of man " was a move 
ment rather than an individual. This interpretation has the 
advantage that the prophecy then would not have been 
falsified by the event. The higher modern mystics, like 
Swedenborg, have maintained that the avatara of God is the 
truth uttered and not the utterer. 


Buddha, like Christ, preached to the spirits in prison. 
It is recorded that on one occasion when visiting Sravastt 
he remembered that the Buddhas of the past had gone to the 
heavens of the Devas, each to preach to his mother. In 
consequence he repaired to Mount Meru, which is the nearest 
point on earth to the heavens of the Devas, and then soared 
away to the heaven Tawadeintha. 

There he preached to his mother and to millions of spirits 
for three months. 2 The heavens of the Devas are six in 
number and are tenanted by mortals still subject to rebirths, 
but who are receiving rewards (temporary) for past good deeds. 
Those whose deeds require punishment (also temporary) are 
conducted into the bowels of the earth to the hell Avichi (the 
Rayless Place). 

It is needless to say that Buddha converted his mother, 
and that she represents the physical universe with the whole 
of its breathing inhabitants. The avatara of the Buddha 
makes happy every suffering mortal. The Chinese hold that 
every thousand years Buddha, in the form of a beautiful 
1 Page 252. 1 Bigandet, p. 203. 


young man, goes down to the hell Avichi and clears that 
region of suffering. 

Turning to the Gospel of Nicodemus, chap, xiii., we read 
that at the time of Christ s crucifixion, in " the depth of hell," 
in " the blackness of darkness, on a sudden there appeared 
the colour of the sun like gold, and a purple-coloured light 
enlightening the place." At this all the Jewish patriarchs 
and prophets ^rejoiced, and Isaiah announced that this was 
the light of the Son of God. 

" The land of Zabulon and the land of Nephthalem beyond 
Jordan, a people who walked in darkness saw a great light, 
and to them who dwelt in the region of the shadow of death 
light is arisen. And now," added the old Hebrew prophet, 
" He is come and hath enlightened us who sate in death." 

" Then all the saints who were in the depth of hell rejoiced 
the more." 

These occurrences alarmed Satan ; when suddenly there 
was a voice as of thunder pronouncing these words 

" Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lift up ye 
everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in ! " 

Then the Prince of Hell, a distinct being from Satan, called 
out, " Shut the brass gates of cruelty ! " But the patriarchs 
remonstrated, and David called to mind his prophecy 

" He hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of 
iron in sunder." 

Then Isaiah spoke again 

" Did not I rightly prophecy to you when I was alive on 

"The dead men shall live and they shall rise again 
who are in their graves, and they shall rejoice who are on 

" Then the mighty Lord appeared in the form of a 
man and lit up those places which had been before in dark 

And " trampling upon Death, he seized the Prince of Hell, 
and deprived him of all his power." 

It is also recorded that he dismissed "all the captives, and 
released all who were bound and all who were wont formerly 


to groan under the weight of their torments " (chap, xviii. 
v. 4 ). 

The Buddhist universalism of this legend gives it, I think, 
an early date. Peter evidently alludes to it when he records 
that Christ "went and preached unto the spirits in prison" (i 
Pet. iii. 19). 


Buddha, like Christ, when he went up the steeps of Mount 
Meru, was ministered to by his two chief disciples. Sariputra 
brought him food, whilst a double of the Great Teacher, per 
haps his " diamond " or spirit body, was preaching to the 
spirits in prison. Maudgalyayana was at hand, too, and was 
commissioned to tell the rest of the disciples that on a certain 
day the Lord would descend to earth near a town called Sam- 
kasya, which was situated some thirty yogunas from Sravasti. 
A splendid staircase of diamonds and emeralds was constructed 
by the spirits, and along this Buddha came ; but at a certain 
point he paused, and an astounding miracle was patent to the 
vast multitudes who had assembled to greet his triumphal 
return. The six glories of the Buddha shone out with 
dazzling radiance on his head, and the splendid domes and 
temples of the spirit cities were revealed. Men could see 
spirits and spirits could see men. Sweet strains were in the 
air from heavenly harps. And Indra the king of heaven and 
Brahma were by the side of Buddha, with an innumerable 
army of angelic beings. The light of all this glory illumined 
even the hell Avichi. A splendid canopy temple was after 
wards erected on the spot where the King of Glory had 
alighted. 1 Did not Peter wish to erect a " tabernacle " on the 
spot where Christ was transfigured ? 

Another point is noteworthy. Sariputra and Maudgalya 
yana incurred, like the Sons of Thunder, the jealousy of the 
other disciples by a similar request. They petitioned Buddha 
that the one should sit on his right hand and the other on his 
left. 2 The coincidence goes further. Sariputra was also 
called Upatishya (the " beloved disciple "). 

1 Compare Bigandet, p. 208, and Rockhill, p. 81. 

2 Bigandet, p. 153. 



Bishop Bigandet points out that there is a " Precurseur de 
Bouddha" as well as a forerunner of Christ. When Buddha 
proceeds from the Desert of Uravilva to make his solemn entry 
into Rajagriha, the Jerusalem of the Buddhists, a radiant young 
man, who was in reality Indra, appeared and cried out 

" Behold the great Buddha advances with a thousand dis 
ciples ! " And when he was questioned about himself he said, 
" Sons of men, I am his humble servant. He alone merits the 
worship of men and spirits." 

Dr. Rhys Davids also gives us an account of Buddha doing 

something the same sort of office to the great Buddha Dipan- 

kara. In a previous existence he was the Brahmin Sumedha. 

" If you clear a path for the Buddha, assign to me a place. 

" I will also clear the road, the way, the path of his coming. 

" Then they gave me a piece of ground to clear a pathway. 

" Then repeating within me A Buddha, a Buddha ! I cleared 

the road." 

By-and-by the Buddha arrived, attended by a vast multi 
tude of mortals and heavenly quiristers. Vast quantities of 
flowers were cast in his pathway, and Sumedha, who had on 
an antelope s skin, flung it in the mire with the grace of Sir 
Walter Raleigh. 1 

In the Gospel of Nicodemus, a herald goes before Christ 
into Pilate s presence, and throws his garment down for the 
Saviour to walk over. Rajagriha means " the city of the 
king," and Buddha s solemn entry with a crowd of disciples, 
with banners and music and incense, his footsteps passing 
along a pathway of flowers, is only another version of the same 
story that was told in our last section, and which is told every 
Sunday in the Christian mass and the Buddhist temple the 
passage of a human soul from the " wilderness " into the city 
of light, the city of the great king. The forerunner of the 
religion of Buddha was the religion of Indra ; and the teaching 
of John the Baptist preceded the teaching of Christ. 

Whether either entry is pure history may be doubted. 

1 " Birth Stories," p. 12. 


The ingenious author of " Rabbi Ben Joshua " holds that that 
of Jesus was genuine, and rendered feasible by a popular move 
ment, which awed for a moment the dominant party. He 
holds, too, that Christ and his followers really broke into the 
temple and overturned the stalls of the traffickers in doves. 
But he says that this proves him an Essene, for the doves were 
a necessity to the Jewish ritual. 

I see great difficulties in the way of this interpretation. In 
the first place, the followers of Christ would have had to deal 
not with the dominant Jews, but the Roman soldiers, who would 
have made short work of an unarmed multitude. In the 
second place, the dominant party, who three times a day 
called on God to send his curse on the Nazarenes, would have 
been only too glad to set the Roman soldiers at their secret 
enemies, and get rid of them at one fell swoop. And nothing 
could have been more opposed to the genius and policy of 
Christ than such a deed of violence. The overturning of the 
money-changers is a beautiful trope, like the crown of thorns 
and the rending of the veil of the temple. 


Buddha, like Christ, sate down with his chief disciples to 
a repast which he knew was to be his last. It is recorded 
that a young pig was set before him, and knowing that this 
would cause his death, he forbade his disciples to touch it, 
and had the remainder buried after he had partaken of it. 
He announced that this feast and the rice milk of Sujata 
were the two great feasts of his life. The one had given him 
the Bodhi or Gnosis, and the other emancipation from the 
flesh altogether. 1 Much of this, of course, is inserted in his 
life to connect it with the two great festivals of the year : the 
Harvest Festival or the Feast of Lanterns, and the Feast of 
the New Year, which begins with the Feast of the Dead. 
The pig is, I suspect, astronomical, like perhaps the boar s 
head at a similar epoch in England. The Abbe Hue was 
astonished to find the Tibetans sit up solemnly to see the 

1 Bigandet, pp. 280, 281. 



old year out and the new year in. New year s cakes and 
sweets and pantomimes abounded. Visits, as in France, were 
made. 1 



There is a passage in the life of Christ and another in the 
life of Buddha that are puzzling. Perhaps, compared to 
gether, they throw some light the one on the other. 

What was the "cup" that Christ had to drink in the 
garden of Gethsemane, and what was the " garden ? " 

Turning to Buddha, it is recorded that shortly before his 
death he and his disciples were invited by the courtesan 
Amrapali to a feast in her beautiful garden. Almost imme 
diately after the feast Buddha sickened. 

" The sharp pains of a dire illness," he said, " have come 
upon me, even to death." And when Ananda, his attendant 
monk, tried to comfort him, he added : " My body is as stiff 
as if I had taken poison ! " 

Shortly afterwards, the Tathagata repaired to the "village 
of the earth " and partook of his last supper, a treacherous 
disciple changing his dish. Great pains soon seized him, and 
a dire thirst. Ananda was by him on the banks of a little 
river called the Haranyavati, and the afflicted old man desired 
his disciple to fetch him a sip of water. Carts were passing, 
and the water was foul. The southern version says that by 
a miracle Buddha clarified it ; but in Mr. Rockhill s version, 
the disciples, after Buddha s death, bitterly upbraided Ananda 
for giving the blessed one a foul cup of water. They were 
angry, too, that he allowed courtesans to anoint Buddha s 
dead body with their tears. 2 

Mysticism has an infinite number of symbols, but only one 
truth ; and that is that there is a spiritual state and a material 

The latter is frequently symbolized as a garden, an impure 
woman, and so on. Each symbol is balanced by its opposite, 

1 " Voyages," vol. ii. p. 374. 

2 "Rockhill," pp. 130, 131, 133, 153. 


for the two are only aspects of one truth. There is the 
garden of Gethsemane and the garden of Paradise ; the 
"cup" of life and the "cup" of death; the "bread of life" 
that John the Baptist administers to the perfected novice ; 
and the bread that the Judas, the treacherous disciple, " dips 

And it is significant that Amrapali is not painted as a 
penitent Magdalene, for she represents the earth-life that the 
Buddha was leaving. It is quaintly announced that she was 
the most perfect woman in the world, and for this reason 
was forbidden by the king to become a wife, a fact which 
relegates her to the groves of the Brahmin Black Durga and 
her festival of the dead. 

Christianity has cast out the seven devils of Mary of 
Magdala, the City of the Tower. But, for all that, her outlines 
still appear sharply limned, and her identity is unmistakable. 
She anoints Christ s body for the burial, and the unguent is 
human tears. She stays by Him at the foot of the cross 
when His disciples desert Him, and when for the hyssop of 
the Essene Sacramentum He is offered the hyssop which is 
presented on the point of a spear. Finally, in the sepulchre 
she is the first to greet Him, for, like Amrapali, her name is 


In Mr. Rockhill s " Life of the Buddha " it is announced 
that portents and miracles always take place at the moment 
of a Buddha s death. These occur when Ananda, who was a 
Buddha l after Sakya Muni s death, and Mahakasyapa pass 
away. 2 When the great Tathagata expired, a great earth 
quake terrified the inhabitants of the world, and the "drum 
of the gods " roared through the vault of heaven, whilst the 
angels in the sky covered their faces with their hands and 
rained down salt tears. The disciples were beside themselves 
with grief, and rolled with pain on the ground. Ananda and 
a companion disciple saw numerous denizens of the other 
world in the city of Kusinagara, and by the river Yigdan. 
1 Page 165. 2 Pages 162, 167. 


Kasyapa encountered a man carrying a mandarava flower, 
and he knew at once that the great teacher was at rest, for the 
mandarava flower blooms only in heaven. 1 

The Abbe Hue tells us that the old garments of the 

Bokte, or incarnation of Buddha, are cut into little strips and 

prized immensely. 2 

In the Chinese version, Buddha appeared after death : 
"After his remains had been put in a golden coffin, which 
then grew so heavy that no one could lift it. ... Suddenly 
his long-deceased mother, Maya, appeared from above bewail 
ing her lost son, when the coffin lifted itself up, the lid sprang 
open, and Sakya Muni appeared with folded hands saluting 
his mother." 3 

This confirms what I said about Maya Devi representing 
humanity as with the Hindoos. So clumsy an expedient as 
bringing her down from heaven to see her son who, according 
to early Buddhist ideas had joined her there, would not other 
wise have been thought of. 


Professor Kellogg finds fault with all who draw a parallel 
between the Buddhist and Christian trinities. The Buddhist 
trinity is Buddha, Dharma, Sangria (Buddha, the law, and the 
order of the monks), 4 which is, of course, very different from 
the Three Persons of the Christian Trinity. 

I will write down a very curious passage from the earliest 
history of the Christian Church, that of Hegesippus 

" In every city that prevails which the Law, the Lord, and 
the prophets enjoin." 

As a monastery was called a school of the prophets in 

i Foucaux, p. 419. 2 "Voyages," vol. ii. p. 278. 

3 Eitel, " Three Lectures on Buddhism," p. 57. 4 Page 184. 


Palestine and in the newly discovered "Teaching of the 
Apostles " the early Christian missionary is called a " Pro 
phet" is it possible to get a more literal translation of 
Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha than this ? 

But Professor Kellogg has not read every volume of the 
long list of Buddhist books that he gives in his preface with 
very great attention, or he would have known that Buddha, 
Dharma, and Sangha on earth have their prototypes in the 
sky ; and that these divine beings were at any rate thought 
so like the three persons of the Christian Trinity by early 
missionaries and travellers in China and elsewhere that they 
pronounced that this "trinity in unity" was evidently derived 
from St. Thomas. 1 Father Tachard makes a similar an 
nouncement. The Buddhist triad in his view "renferment 
presque 1 idee de la Trinite, car ces trois paroles signifient 
Dieu, le verbe de Dieu, et 1 imitateur de Dieu." 2 

This triad figures in the rituals of both northern and 
southern Buddhism. 


" He is the creator of all the Buddhas. He is the creator 
of Prajna, and of the world, himself unmade." 

" He is the form of all things, yet formless." 

" Adi Buddha is without beginning. He is perfect and 
pure within the essence of wisdom and absolute truth. He 
knows all the past. His words are ever the same. He is 
without second. He is omnipresent." 3 

The next citation is from the ritual of Ceylon. 

" We believe in the blessed one, the holy one, the author 
of all truth, who has fully accomplished the eight kinds of 
supernatural knowledge, . . . who came the good journey 
which led to the Buddhahood, who knows the universe, the 
unrivalled who has made subject to him all mortal beings 
whether in heaven or on earth, the teacher of gods and men, 

1 Picart, citing Purchas, " Ceremonies," etc. vol. vii. p. 203. 

2 Ibid., p. 59. 

3 These are cited by Mr. Hodgson from the " Nama Sangiti." 


the blessed Buddha. Through life till I reach Nirvana will 
I put my trust in Buddha." l 

This latter passage is from Ceylon, where every day the 
following sentences are ejaculated in the temples : 

" I bow my head to the ground and worship the sacred 
dust of his holy feet. 

" If in aught I have sinned against Buddha, 

" May Buddha forgive me my sin ! " 

" I bow my head to the ground and worship Dharma. 

" If in aught I have sinned against Dharma, 

" May Dharma forgive me my sin ! " 

" I bow my head to the ground and worship Sangria. 

" If in aught I have sinned against Sangha, 

" May Sangha forgive me my sin ! " 2 


" I salute that Dharma who is the wisdom of the unseen 
world (Prajna Paramita), pointing out the way of perfect tran- 
quility to mortals, leading them to the paths of perfect wisdom, 
who by the testimony of the sages produced all things." j 

"Whatsoever spirits are present either belonging to the 
earth or living in the air, let us worship Tathagata Dharma, 
revered by gods and men, may then be salvation." 4 


Sangha, the third person of this trinity, sprang from the 
union of Sophia the mother and Buddha (Spirit). The relations 
between the transcendental Buddha and the mortal Buddha 
I have already shown to be the same as those between En 
Soph of the " Kabbalah " and the Heavenly Man. Philo s 
God the Father and the Logos his son is based on the same 

Our Holy Spirit was at first a woman, Sophia, the mother. 
The great cathedral in the first capital of Christendom is 

1 " Buddhist Credo in Ceylon," Dickson. 

2 " Patimokkha," p. 5. 3 Hodgson, p. 142. 
4 " Sutta Nipata," p. 39, Fausbol. 


named after her. God made the world by means of the 
Word and Sophia, 1 says Irenaeus, with whom she is also 
a woman. 

I will draw attention here to a singularly neglected portion 
of the Jewish scriptures, the Apocrypha. I say singularly 
neglected, as it formed part of the scriptures known to Christ 
and the higher Judaism, and was most of it composed at 
Alexandria. The Buddhist inner teaching was set forth in 
compositions entitled Prajna Paramita (the wisdom of the 
other bank). The higher Judaism also had its book of Wisdom. 
I will make an extract. 

" O God of my fathers and Lord of Mercy, who hast made 
all things with the Word. 

" And ordained man through thy Wisdom that he should 
have dominion over the creatures that Thou hast made. 

" Give me Wisdom that sitteth by Thy throne, and reject 
me not from among Thy children. . . . 

" Wisdom was with Thee which knoweth Thy works, and 
was present when Thou madest the world. . . . 

" O send her out of thy holy heaven, and from the throne 
of Thy glory, that being present she may labour with me. 

" For the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and 
the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth 
upon many things. 

" And Thy counsel who hath known, except Thou give 
wisdom and send the Holy Spirit from above." 

In this passage we see Sophia personified as the Holy 
Spirit. She was in existence before God created the world. 
This He did by the aid of the Logos, as in the fourth gospel. 

Immediately following the passage quoted it is narrated 
what Sophia did for the seven great prophets, Adam, Noah, 
Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, Moses. These are supposed 
by some to be the seven messengers of the Apocalypse. 

Here are a few more verses about Sophia 

" She is the breath of the power of God. 

" She is the brightness of the everlasting light, the 
unspotted mirror of the power of God. 

1 " Hser.," iv. 20. 



" Being one she can do all things, and remaining in herself 
she maketh all things new." l 

" She is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God." 5 

She appears constantly in 
the catacombs. The figure, 
known as the Orante, is a 
representation of her, not pray 
ing, but supporting the Kos- 
mos ; as in India, it is simi 
larly supported by Krishna, or 
Hanuman. A female, with 
arms in a similar attitude, is 
seen constantly in the old 
Buddhist bas-reliefs. We see 
her here standing on the kos- 
mical lily or lotus (Fig. 15). 
She is the "Bride" of the 

In the Indian religion it 
was feigned that the ecliptic, or 
circle of the year, was a great 
serpent with his tail in his 
mouth Ananta, the Endless. 

This serpent was supposed 
to be cut in half, and to become 
two serpents which represented Summer, or the period of life, 
and Winter, or the period of death. These two serpents, as 
Ketu and Rahu, also represented good and evil with the 
Buddhists and Brahmins. 

The word " union " is the keystone of all ancient myste 
ries. With the Brahmins this was yoga. With the Buddhists 
it was sangha. In early Christianity it was the mystic 
"marriage." Buddha (heaven, spirit, the universal father) 
was allied to Dharma (earth, matter, the universal mother), 
and from the union was born the mystic child. 

The favourite way of representing these two mystic ser 
pents was as twined round the " Rod of Hermes " (Fig. 2, 
1 Chap. vii. v. 25, et seq. 1 Chap. viii. v. 4. 

Fig- 15- 


Fig. i. 

Fig. 2. 



[Page 200. 


Fig. 2. 

Fig. i. 


Fig. 4 . 

Father, Mother, and Marttanda. 

Serapis Shell and Marttanda. 


[Page 201. 


Plate VIII., from the early Buddhist tope of Sanchi). In an 
ornamental form (Figs. 3 and 4) this became the Trisul or 
Triratna outline, the most holy symbol of Buddhism. 
Buddha s head (Fig. 5) has, I think, its very long ears to 
make up the same outline. Fig. 6 is a magic tortoise from 
Tibet, and here we have the same outline in another form. 
In Buddhism it is everywhere. Fig. I, a head of Christ 
from the catacombs, whether by accident or design, makes 
up the same symbol of the mystic " union." In Greece it 
was feigned that Jupiter and Rhea, disguised as serpents, had 
produced this symbol. This was the explanation of the Rod 
of Hermes. 

The two serpents in Alexandrian Gnosticism were the legs 
of the mystic I. A. w. Compare Fig. 2, Plate IX., with Fig. I, 
from the Buddhist tope of Jamalgiri. In Figs. 4 and 5 we 
see Buddha s symbol of the elephant as one limb of the triad, 
a strong proof that Buddhism was in Alexandria. Fig. 3 is 
Serapis, whose head is said to have suggested the conven 
tional Christ. According to Gibbon, Christianity and Serapis 
worship in Alexandria were at one time scarcely dis 



Ritual Saint Worship Cosmology Progress of Buddhism Indul 
gences Dispensations Councils to put down Heresy Close simi 
larities in the Election of the Grand Lama and the Pope. 


In my work, " Buddha and Early Buddhism," occurred 
the following passage : 

" The French missionary Hue, in his celebrated travels in 
Tibet, was much struck with the similarity that exists 
between Buddhist and Roman Catholic rites and customs. 

" The crozier, the mitre, the dalmatic, the cope or pluvial, 
which the grand lamas, wear on a journey, or when they 
perform some ceremony outside the temple, the service with 
a double choir, psalmody, exorcisms, the censer swinging on 
five chains, and contrived to be opened or shut at will, bene 
diction by the lamas with the right hand extended over the 
heads of the faithful, the chaplet, sacerdotal celibacy, lenten 
retirements from the world, the worship of saints, fasts, pro 
cessions, litanies, holy water these are the points of contact 
between the Buddhists and ourselves." The good Abbe has 
by no means exhausted the list, and might have added " con 
fessions, tonsure, relic worship, the use of flowers, lights, 
and images before shrines and altars, the sign of the cross, 
the Trinity in unity, the worship of the queen of heaven, the 
use of religious books in a tongue unknown to the bulk of 
the worshippers, the aureole or nimbus, the crown of saints 
and Buddhas, wings to angels, penance, flagellations, the 
flabellum or fan, popes, cardinals, bishops, abbots, presbyters, 
deacons, the various architectural details of the Christian 

RITUAL. 203 

temple," etc. 1 To this list Balfour s " Cyclopaedia of India " 
adds " amulets, medicines, illuminated missals ; " and Mr. 
Thomson ("Illustrations of China," vol. ii. p. 1 8), " baptism, 
the mass, requiems." 

Mr. Pfoundes, a gentleman who has resided for eight years 
in a Buddhist monastery, tells me that when the monks enter 
the temple for the first time of a morning, they make the 
precise gesture which Catholics call the sign of the cross. 
They mean by this to invoke the four cardinal points as 
a symbol of God. 

Listen, also, to Father Disderi, who visited Tibet in the 
year 1714 

" The lamas have a tonsure like our priests, and are bound 
over to perpetual celibacy. They study their scriptures in 
a language and characters that differ from the ordinary 
characters ; they recite prayers in choir ; they serve the 
temple, present the offerings, and keep the lamps perpetually 
alight ; they offer to God corn, and barley, and paste, and 
water in little vases, which are extremely clean. Food thus 
offered is considered consecrated, and they eat it. The lamas 
have local superiors, and a superior general." 2 

The lamas told the father that their holy books were very 
like his. 3 When he asked them whether Buddha was God or 
man, they replied god and man. He furthermore describes 
the high altar of a temple covered with a cloth and contain 
ing a little tabernacle, where Buddha was said to reside. 
Cross-examined by the father, the lamas said that he lived in 
heaven as well. 4 

The Catholics use a " tabernacle " for the sacred elements ; 
and whilst they are there, a lamp is perpetually burning, 
which, like a similar Buddhist light, represents God s presence. 
" Adi Buddha is light," say the Buddhists. 

Father Grueber, who, with another priest named Dorville, 
passed from Pekin through Tibet to Patna in the year 1661, 
published an interesting narrative of his journey, with ex- 

1 " Buddha and Early Buddhism," p. 180. 

2 " Lettres Edifiantes," vol. iii. p. 534. 

3 Ibid., p. 534. * Ibid., p. 533. 


cellent illustrations. Henry Prinsep thus sums up the points 
that chiefly attracted the father 

" Father Grueber was much struck with the extraordinary 
similarity he found, as well in the doctrine as in the rituals of 
the Buddhists of Lha Sa, to those of his own Romish faith. 
He noticed, first, that the dress of the lamas corresponded with 
that handed down to us in ancient paintings as the dress of 
the apostles ; second, that the discipline of the monasteries, 
and of the different orders of lamas or priests, bore the same 
resemblance to that of the Romish Church ; third, that the 
notion of an incarnation was common to both, so also the 
belief in paradise and purgatory ; fourth, he remarked that 
they made suffrages, alms, prayers, and sacrifices, for the 
dead, like the Roman Catholics ; fifth, that they had convents 
filled with monks and friars to the number of thirty thousand 
near Lha Sa, who all made the three vows of poverty, 
obedience, and chastity, like Roman monks, besides other 
vows ; and sixth, that they had confessors licensed by the 
superior lamas or bishops, and so empowered to receive con 
fessions, impose penances, and give absolution. Besides all 
this, there was found the practice of using holy water, of 
singing service in alternation, of praying for the dead, and 
of perfect similarity in the costumes of the great and superior 
lamas to those of the different orders of the Romish hierarchy. 
These early missionaries further were led to conclude from 
what they saw and heard that the ancient books of the lamas 
contained traces of the Christian religion which must, they 
thought, have been preached in Tibet in the time of the 
apostles." 1 

The Abbe Prouveze, in his biography of the French 
missionary, Gabriel Durand, says that the points of similarity 
between Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity are far too 
minute to do away with the ideas of plagiarism. " The 
government of Tibet is borrowed from the ecclesiastical 
government of the States of the Church." 2 The Delai lama 
is like the pope, and his election very similar. " The gospel 
has already passed into the hands of the Tartars, with the 

1 Prinsep, "Tibet, Tartary," etc. p. 14. 2 Vol. ii. p. 365. 



{Page 205. 

RITUAL. 205 

Christian hierarchy and celibacy." St. Hyacinth of Poland 
and St. Oderic of Frioul, who visited Tibet in the fourteenth 
century, may have effected this propagandism. 1 " The cross, 
pursues the Abbe, alluding perhaps to the Buddhist Swastika, 
" has remained enshrined amongst the arid rocks of Tibet as 
a sign of salvation." 2 But greater proofs of Christian pro 
pagandism are in reserve. The Abbe points out that the 
Chinese know all about the Virgin Mother. A " missionary 
of Kiang Si " reports that he has seen statues of her holding 
an infant child in her arms, and treading down the serpent 
with her feet. By this statue stood a solemn man surrounded 
by ten smaller statues. These, he thinks, were St. Joseph 
and the shepherds, though I fear that they were the disciples 
and Buddha. Other statues of Kwan Yin have each a 
descending dove on the head and a child in her arms. They 
bear for inscription, " The Mother who delivers the world." 
This mother is declared to be ever virgin. The Abbe Prouveze 
is aware, however, that Kwan Yin is much earlier historically 
than the Virgin Mary, for he starts a second theory that the 
idea was plagiarized from an old Testament in the synagogue 
that the Jews had in China two hundred years before Christ. 3 

Here is a passage from the life of Gabriel Durand 

"There [in the pagoda of the Bell Pekin] we saw a 
Buddhist priest dressed almost exactly like a Benedictine, 
a kind of arch of alliance, shewbread (pains de proposition) 
on the altar, vases like our holy water, and censers." 4 

Let us now consider the Buddhist ritual a little more 
closely, selecting a liturgy given to us by Professor Beal 

" The form of this office is a very curious one. It bears 
a singular likeness in its outline to the common type of the 
Eastern Christian liturgies. That is to say, there is a Pro- 
anaphoral and an * Anaphoral portion ; there is a prayer of 
entrance (rij? ao-oSou), a prayer of incense (rou Ov/uiafjiaTo^, 
an ascription of praise to the threefold object of worship 
(rpurayiov), a prayer of oblation (rfc irpoaOtatwe), the Lections, 
the recitation of the Dharani (juu<m/ptoi;), the Embolismus or 

1 Vol. ii. p. 363. 2 Vol. ii. p. 263. 

3 Vol. i. p. 422. 4 " Gabriel Durand," vol. i. p. 493. 


prayer against temptation, followed by a Confession and a 
Dismissal." l 

This similarity is so close, that the Professor believes it to 
be a Christian liturgy imported by the Nestorians at an early 

In the pathway of this theory there are, however, con 
siderable difficulties. In every other Buddhist country visited 
by early Christian missionaries were found traces of a similar 
propagandism. The services were all alike incense, flowers, 
oblations, praise of the Trinity, confessions, hymns. This 
active " Nestorian," if he converted one Buddhist country, 
must have converted all, presenting thus a striking contrast 
to modern preachers who, even in Buddhist countries that 
have been one hundred years under Christian sway, make no 
impression at all. Besides this, the Nestorians were Unitarians. 

In the central "mystery" the Buddhists use water and not 
wine, and condemn the Christian bloody atonement symbolized 
by the latter. How is it that this mysterious teacher, if he 
could effect so much, stopped short where he did ? 

Another point suggests itself. Ritual has one indelible 
record the temple. The tope in the plain and the rock 
temple in the bowels of the mountain are exactly fitted for 
the Buddhist rites ; and the dates of these are long before the 
birth of Christ 

Mr. James Fergusson was of opinion that the various 
details of the early Christian Church, nave, aisles, columns, 
semi-domed apse, cruciform ground plan, were borrowed en 
bloc from the Buddhists. 2 He adduces the rock-cut cave 
temple of Karli, in the west of India, whose date he fixes at 
78 B.C. 

" The building resembles to a great extent an early Chris 
tian church in its arrangements, consisting of a nave and side 
aisles, terminating in an apse or semi-dome, round which the 
aisle is carried. ... As a scale for comparison, it may be 
mentioned that its arrangements and dimensions are very 

1 Beal, " Catena of Buddhist Scriptures," p. 397. 

2 "Indian and Eastern Architecture," p. 117. "Rude Stone Monu 
ments," p. 603, etc. 

RITUAL. 207 

similar to those of the choir of Norwich Cathedral, and of the 
Abbaye aux Hommes, at Caen, omitting the outer aisles in 
the latter buildings. Immediately under the semi-dome of 
the apse, and nearly where the altar stands in Christian 
churches, is placed the Dagopa." 1 The Dagopa is the 
Baldechino or canopy containing, as Mr. Fergusson points 
out, in both religions the relics of a saint. 

Here we have already, many years before Christ s birth, 
an apparatus plainly adapted for early Christian rites. These 
were divided into two sections. There was a " mass of the 
catechumens," which took place in the body of the cathedral. 
Then these were expelled, and what is called the " Liturgia 
Mystica " was used. This was the Oblation of Bread, as Ter- 
tullian calls it; the Bloodless Sacrifice, as it is termed in the 
Liturgy of St. James, which is considered by scholars the 
earliest Christian ritual. The Bema was now approached by 
the chanting choristers. This represented heaven ; and the 
marriage of the bread and wine, the birth of the mystic 
Christ, the word made flesh. 

Into what the Buddhists call the " main court of the 
temple," which represents earth and earth life, the first pro 
cession of chanting monks comes. This is called the " Lesser 
Entrance." The second entrance, after the expulsion of the 
catechumens, is called the " Greater Entrance," when the 
Buddhist monks march slowly and reverently to the sanctuary, 
and march round it three times. " I will compass thine 
altar," said the Psalmist (Ps. xxvi. 6). 

I give the Buddhist high altar with its lower altar in front, 
like that of the Catholics, with its lamp perpetually burning 
like theirs, its artificial flowers, thurifers, and tall candlesticks 
with wax candles made out of a vegetable wax. Votive 
tablets like doll s tombstones crowd it with offerings to the 
dead. In the Middle Ages, Catholic churches were similarly 
choked. In front of Buddha is the Sambo, a three-sided box, 
hollow behind. Always in front of it is represented the cross, 
made up of four circles, the four stages of spiritual growth. 
" I regard the sacred altar as a royal gem, on which the 
1 " Indian and Eastern Architecture," p. 117. 


shadow (spirit) of S akya Tathagata appears" (See Plate 
.XIII., p. 2IO). 1 This is from the Chinese ritual, and the 
accompanying bas-relief from Amaravati reminds one of 
the Armenian collect which describes Christ with His saints 
as also descending in the chariot of the four fiery faces. 2 


I now come to a very important point, saint-worship. The 
Jews, as we know, believed that soul and body were inseparable, 
that both went to sheol (the cave) ; and later on came the 
idea of a universal resurrection of the dead, and a universal 
judgment, ideas that have been transferred to Christian 

I will first of all cite a passage from the Persian scripture, 
the Boundehesch 

"After that the angel Sosiosch will raise the dead, as 
promised, by the power of Ormuzd. This resurrection will be 
certainly seen. Veins will be restored to the body ; and this 
resurrection once made will not be repeated." This resur 
rection is called in a previous passage, "the resurrection of the 
dead, and the re-establishment of the body." 3 

After this resurrection of the body will come, as we learn 
from the same scripture, a last judgment. 

"Then will appear on earth the assemblage of all the 
beings of the world with man. In this gathering each will see 
the good and the evil that he has done. . . . Then the just 
will be separated from the darvands. The just will go to 
Gorotman. The darvands will be precipitated into the 
Douzakh. . . . The father will be separated from the mother, 
the sister from the brother." 4 

We see from this where the Lower Judaism got its ideas 
about a resurrection of the material body, and the last judgment. 

But on the top of this has been superposed a second idea, 
which contradicts and stultifies the first in every particular 

1 Beal, "Catena of Buddhist Scriptures/ p. 243. 

2 See ante, p. 13. 

3 " Boundehesch," chap. xxxi. 4 Ibid., ch. xxxi. 

RITUAL. 209 

In 2 Maccabees xv. 15, the dead prophet Jeremiah revisits 
earth. He appears to Judas Maccabeus holding a sword. 
" Take this holy sword, a gift from God, with the which thou 
shalt wound the adversaries." 

White-robed saints and their heaven figure conspicuously 
in the earliest scripture written by a personal follower of 
Christ, the Apocalypse. Plainly, too, Christ knew nothing of 
the idea that the soul after death d\velt in a torpid state with 
the worms and decomposing matter of its body in the 
sepulchre, as proved by the promise to the penitent thief, the 
story of Lazarus and Dives, the appearance of Moses and 
Elias. Also He promised to go and prepare places for His 
disciples in the " many mansions " of heaven ; and adjudicated 
in the squabble of His disciples for the privilege of sitting on 
His right or left hand. Had He held^the popular Jewish views, 
He would have had to explain that the figures seen on the 
transfiguration mount could not possibly be Moses and Elias, 
for these will remain unconscious until the sound of the great 

Saint-worship emerges conspicuously in the earliest Chris 
tian monuments. In the Catacombs each chapel was the 
shrine of a saint, and each altar the lid of a sarcophagus. 
Immense exertions were made at a martyrdom to save the 
dead body, or at least a few bones, or a sponge dipped in 
blood. The Council of Carthage, cited by Cardinal Wiseman, 
decreed that all altars should be " overturned by the bishop of 
the place which are erected about the fields and roads as in 
memory of martyrs, in which is not a body nor any relics." 1 
" God dwells in the bones of the martyrs," says St. Ephrem ; 
" and by His power and presence miracles are wrought." He 
further asserted that when St. Ignatius " laid down his life, he 
returned again crowned." 2 

On the grave of the martyr Sabbatius in the catacombs 
is this inscription : " Sabbatius, sweet soul, pray and entreat 
for thy brethren and comrades." 3 

This saint-worship, tomb-worship, corpse-worship was con- 

1 Can. XIV., Cone. Gen., torn. ii. p. 1272. 2 Ibid., torn. v. p. 340. 
3 Wiseman s " Lectures of the Catholic Church," ii. 105. 



spicuous in early Buddhism. Its first temple was the tumulus 
containing a relic of Buddha, or the charred ashes of the body 
of Sariputra, Ananda, or other of the saints. Conspicuous 
saints had each his tumulus, or tope, in many cities, and his 
saint s day, when the devout offered him flowers and food. 
The Great Vehicle, or school of nihilism shook this saint- 
worship, but only superficially. When the P. Morales visited 
Manilla, he was told that the saints had enormous power, that 
they " were seated to the right and left of God." l 

We have seen that many hold that all that is like Chris 
tianity in Buddhism was derived from Christian sources. I 
think that this question of the status of saints is therefore 
very important. For we see at the very source of Christianity 
two internecine eschatologies struggling together, the Jewish 
and Buddhist. Illogically the church eventually adopted 
both. Now, if Buddhism had been derived from Christianity, 
we should have seen similar contradictions. The Buddhist 
monks would have announced that the good man after death 
is at one and the same time 

1. Unconscious in the tomb awaiting the sound of a trumpet. 

2. Conscious in the sky at the right hand of God. 

The earliest Christian liturgies were called " Laudes." 
The earliest Buddhist liturgy was called " Sapta Buddha 
Stotra " (the Praise of the Seven Buddhas). Oddly enough, 
in the Catholic "Litany of all the Saints," seven principal 
beings are addressed the angels Michael, Gabriel, and 
Raphael, the Three Persons of the Trinity, and the Virgin. 
Plainly these last have been substituted for the other four 
angels of Kabbalistic worship. After these seven there is a 
general invocation to " angels, holy angels, and happy spirits," 
and to the minor saints, as in Buddhism. 


I have asked Catholics how it is that saints can be residing 
in heaven before they can possibly have been judged and 
pronounced saints. They say that it is a miracle. This, to 
1 Picart, " Ceremonies," etc. vol. vii. p. 216. 



From Amaravati. 

RITUAL. 2 1 1 

my mind, fails not only to explain, but to appreciate the 
difficulty. Besides, it is not only the question of saints that 
stultifies the Apostles Creed. Much, indeed most, of the 
mechanism of the Catholic Church is designed to extricate 
the souls of laymen from purgatory as soon as possible after 
death. It is the same in Buddhism, but in that Creed we 
know how the doctrine was built up. In early Vedic days 
folks believed in an eternal heaven but no hell. By-and-by 
the notion of a place of expiation was added. Then the 
priests of India or Egypt invented the doctrine of the metem 
psychosis to account for their caste privileges. It was taught 
that the Karma, or causation of good or evil actions, ushered 
a man into a new birth as a parrot or a princess, a jackdaw 
or a banker, according to its quality. But an early creed is 
not easily superseded in the mind of a people, and it was 
found necessary to tack on the Vedic hell and heaven as tem 
porary places of reward and expiation as well ; men not 
inquiring too nicely why, if the causation of a bandit s crimes 
plunged him into the hell Avichi for three centuries, it should 
be at all necessary after that to bring him back to earth as a 
pilfering jackal. These Buddhist contradictions are of value 
to our inquiry. Given the gross absurdity of an unintelli 
gent causation sentencing people to be boiled in hot oil, the 
Buddhist system has its logic. Not so that of the Catholics. 
My grandfather died three weeks ago. He is in purgatory, I 
am told, but masses for his soul may much shorten the period 
of his stay there. Who sent him to purgatory ? Not Christ, 
for He has not yet come to judge the quick and the dead. 
Not Karma, for the Catholic Church ignores Buddhism. 

In point of fact we again see two conflicting eschatologies, 
the Jewish and the Buddhist ; and their union brings about 
many necessary contradictions. 


In Vedic days, the Indians had seven heavens, as Cole- 
brooke teaches. The highest was the unchangeable Heaven 
of Brahma. 1 The Buddhists took over these seven heavens, 

1 Colebrooke, " Essays," vol. i. pp. 129, 130. 


including the heaven of Brahma, where spirits enfranchised 
from returns to earth, for ever dwell. 

In the " Testimony of the Twelve Patriarchs," a Christian 
work of a very early date, we get the seven Jewish heavens- 

1. A heaven of sadness, owing to its proximity to man. 

2. Full of fires and scourges, and ice and snow. Scourges 
and fire in paradise is very Jewish. 

3. Celestial cohorts, destined to triumph over the spirit 

of evil. 

4. Heaven of the saints enthroned in glory. 

5. Heaven of the angels, offering a reasonable, not a 
bloody, sacrifice, and interceding with God. 

6. Heaven of the high angels. They carry the messages 
of the angels of the Face of God. 

7. The Most High, surrounded by "powers," "thrones," 
etc. In this heaven is the great throne and the heavenly 

Here, again, we get Buddhist derivation. To a Jew, who 
believed that the soul remained wedded to the disintegrating 
chemicals, which he miscalled the body, until a universal 
judgment, of what use would be heaven number four, the 
heaven of the saints? Plainly there could , be no saints 
until after this universal judgment had settled who were the 

In point of fact, in Christian cosmology, these saints 
promptly usurped the functions of the earlier mythological 
beings. The earth was supposed by early Christians to be 
a large, flat, rectangle, twice as long as it was broad. In 
the centre of the earth was hell, with its circles of fire, sulphur, 
ice, dung, vipers, red-hot iron for heretics, and so on. Moses, 
talking of the tabernacle, which he says is the image of the 
earth, says that its length was two cubits, and its breadth 
one. That gives us the proportions, says Flammarion ; who 
gives also the map of the world by Cosmas in the sixth 
century. A guardian is depicted at each side of the paral 
lelogram. 1 These in Buddhism are the four Maharajas, in 
Christian cosmology, they soon became Matthew, Mark, 
1 " Histoire du Ciel," p. 3 O1 - 

RITUAL. 213 

Luke, and John. Around the rim of heaven, figured as a 
mountain, the holy Zion, were the twelve apostles, figuring 
as the twelve aeons, a Greek term for the Buddhas who 
stand at the twelve points of space. St. Peter became 
Janus, the celestial door-keeper, with his key and beard. 
St. Anthony presided over the Palilia, the feast of the cattle, 
the Indian Pongal. By-and-by, there was a saint for every 
infirmity of the body, as in Pagan Rome there had been 
a god for every disease ; St. Petronella, for gout and ague ; 
St. Romanus, for those that were possessed ; St. Valentine, for 
the falling sickness. 1 

The heaven of Indra, as described in the Buddhist writ 
ings, is very like the heaven of St. John. There is a "high 
mountain," and a city " four square," with gates of gold and 
silver, adorned with precious stones. Seven moats surround 
the city, and beyond the last range is a row of marble 
pillars, studded with jewels. The great throne of the God 
stands in the centre of a great hall, surmounted with a white 
canopy. Trees that bear constant fruits are there, and the 
gem lake, with the peaches of immortality. Round the 
throne are seated subordinate heavenly ministers, who record 
men s actions in a " golden book." 5 


In the account of the "Churning of the Ocean," in the 
Mahabharata, the Indian signs of the zodiac are covertly 
detailed. The fish figures as Chakra, the terrible projectile 
of Vishnu, as of Thor. In all the epics it is being constantly 
alluded to as one of the treasures of the Sun-God, like the 
horse, the boar, the kaustabha gem, etc., which 
are all zodiacal. In early coins this cross (the 
Swastika) is formed by two serpents, the great 
Father and Mother. A similar idea is expressed 
in passages of the Mahabharata. 

" Beneath the trenchant Chakra he saw guard 
ing the Amrita two immense and terrible serpents, strong, 

1 See Burton s " Anatomy of Melancholy," part ii. sect. i. 

2 Upham, " History of Buddhism/ pp. 56, 57. 


venom-threatening, with fiery eyes and throats, and tongues 
of forked lightning." l 

Here is another passage 

" Here dwell two serpents, the terror of enemies, Arvouda 
and S akravapi. Here are the sublime palaces of Swastika 
and Maninaga (jewel snake)/ 2 

Bentley 3 puts forward a plausible explanation of it, and 
that is that it was " feigned that a dragon was cut in two 
by the ecliptic," and that Rahu was the ascending node, and 
Ketu the descending node. This would give the two ser 
pents the positive and negative principles. 

In India, when the fish are used, they always cross each 
other. In Japan, the constellation that has this sign )( (our 
symbol for the fish), is called Tsing (beams in the form of 
a cross). 4 It is oddly enough, the only cross in the cata 
combs, and it was the only symbol on the drapery on the 
high altar in the first Japanese temple at Knightsbridge. 
It is the sole symbol that figures in the text of Asoka s 
inscriptions. It is called the " Seal of the Heart of 

This gives a new meaning to such words as " Take up 
thy cross," pronounced before Christ s hearers knew any 
thing about the crucifixion. It is the symbol of the four 
stages of the soul s progress. 

In the catacombs, the fish likewise make the form of 
a cross. The early Christians were called " The ~^ - 
Fish," and the Christ monogram seems to have = 

been built up gradually from the symbol which 
was the "seal," alike of Christ and Buddha 
(Rev. vii. 3). 


Fig. i 8. 

1 Mahab. Adi Parva, v. 1500, 1501. 

2 Ibid., Sabha Parva, p. 806. 

3 " Hindu Astronomy," p. 24. " Flammarion," p. 156. 

4 Balfour, " Indian Cyclopaedia." 

RITUAL. 2 1 5 

All these crosses are early forms. I take them from Smith s 
" Christian Antiquities." To the two serpents 
symbolizing the great Father and Mother, the 
jod or rod of Christ was added, the whole 
making the Alexandrine " I A w " Oddly 
enough, the Swastika cross, the Indian fish, 
has dominated the year all through the epoch 
of Buddhism and Christianity. A.D. 2000, it will be succeeded 
by the Man with the Vase of Ichor. 


We shall perhaps make matters more intelligible if we take 
up the story of Buddha s movement from the date of his death. 
The creed, as I have shown, struggled on in obscurity and 
probably in secrecy until the advent of a powerful monarch 
250 B.C. King Asoka ruled India on this point we have the 
evidence of his inscriptions and incised stones from Peshawur 
to Cape Comorin, and from Girnar in the Gulf of Cutch on 
the east coast of Hindustan to Ganjam on the west coast. 
When he made Buddhism the official creed of India he was 
met with a difficulty. The teaching of Buddha was simply 
the awakening of the spiritual life of the individual. 

" Who speaks and acts with the inner quickening has joy 
for his shadow ! " This was his motto. 

For the vulgar something more was required ; and the king 
was obliged to graft on to it some of the outside worship of 
Brahminism, for the people required some cultus that they 
could venerate and understand. That cultus consisted in a 
sort of saint-worship. The dead rishi or saint of the past 
had his ashes casketed in a little stone chamber in the centre 
of a huge mound like Avebury, or the Maes Howe in Orkney. 
Round this, tanks and groves and tall columns were erected, 
to which pilgrims resorted in shoals to see the ashes of the 
saint coruscate with magic light, and to be healed of bodily 
and spiritual infirmities. India had an arch Brahmin, the 
high priest of the creed, and Asoka changed him into a 
Buddhist monk, called in the Mahawanso the " high priest of 


all the world." In process of time this pontiff dwelt in the 
great monastery of Nalanda, not far from Buddha Gaya. He 
was the Acharya of Buddhism, the " teacher " par excellence. 
Hwen Thsang has left us a description of his pomp, and the 
splendour of his great monastery on the hills, the tanks, the 
gardens, the jade and the gold. He describes the architecture 
as like that of the Chinese ; red pillars and roofs that scale the 
sky. Ten thousand monks were dwelling in the court of the 
great Acharya. 

These days of the ascendancy of early Buddhism continued 
until A.D. 10, when another great Indian emperor arose who 
defiled Buddhism with the teachings of a bad school of Brah- 
minism, the religion of the followers of Siva. 

This brings us to the two great schools of Buddhism 

1. The earliest school, the Buddhism of Buddha, taught 
that after Nirvana, or man s emancipation from re-births, the 
consciousness of the individual survived, and that he dwelt 
for ever in happiness in the Brahma heavens. 

2. The second, or innovating school, taught that after Nir 
vana the consciousness of the individual ceased. The god of 
the first school was Buddha, which can have no other meaning 
than "intelligent." The god of the innovating school was 
Sunya (unintelligent causation). 

Some readers will judge that this statement differs con 
siderably from the teaching of St. Hilaire, Oldenberg, and 
Rhys Davids. In point of fact, when I first brought it forward 
in my " Popular Life of Buddha," l one or two critics, notably 
one in the Athenaum, found fault with me for venturing 
to differ with so great a Pali scholar as Professor Rhys 
Davids ; the critic himself having unconsciously ventured to 
differ quite as widely. He was plainly under the impression 
that without a vast and accurate knowledge of Pali roots no 
decision could be come to in Buddhist eschatology. In point 
of fact the question is a piece of history as pure and easy of 
solution as the question whether the religion of Leo X. 
preceded or followed that of Luther. In the seventh century, 
A.D., a Chinese monk named Hwen Thsang visited India, 

^ ! Vol. i. pp. 150, 151. 

RITUAL. 217 

and he was appointed president of a great convocation 
expressly summoned by King Siladitya, to put down the 
Buddhism of the Little Vehicle altogether. No better wit 
ness can be conceived. He has recorded the following 
facts : 

1. The council of King Kaniska (summoned about A.D. 10) 
was the first occasion on which the innovating Buddhism of 
the Great Vehicle was introduced. 1 

2. This was done in spite of such strong opposition on 
the point of the Acharya of the great monastery of Nalanda 
(the high priest of Buddhism), that the king was afraid to 
hold his convocation in the Buddhist Holy Land as he had at 
first intended. 2 

3. That the official representatives of genuine Buddhism 
at Nalanda asserted in the most positive terms that the in 
novating Buddhism did not come from Buddha at all, but 
from a sect of the followers of the Brahman god Siva (the 
Kapalikas). 3 

4. On the nature of the innovating teachers the Chinese 
traveller is equally explicit. They were what is called in 
India Sunyavadis. 

As early as the Brahmin Gautama, who compiled a code 
of laws centuries before the Code of Manu, these philosophers 
existed. This is what he says of them 

" The Sunyavadis affirm that from nonentity all things 
arose, for that everything sprung to birth from a state in 
which it did not previously exist : that entity absolutely im 
plies nonentity, and that there must be some power in non 
entity from which entity can spring. The sprout does not arise 
from a sprout, but in the absence or non-existence of a sprout. 
. . . The Sunyavadi admits the necessity of using the terms 
" maker," etc., but maintains that they are mere words of 
course, and are often used when the things spoken of are in 
a state of non-existence, as when men say, * A son will be 
born. " 4 

1 Hwen Thsang, " M ^moires," vol. i. p. 173, et seq. 

2 Ibid., p. 174. 3 Ibid., p. 220. 

4 Sutras of Gautama, cited by Ward, " The Hindoos" vol. i. p. 420. 


In an Indian drama called the " Prabodha Chandra Udaya," 
there is a sketch of one of these atheistic priests of Siva. In 
a dispute with a Buddhist he is made to say 

" With goodly necklace decked of bones of men, 
Haunting the tombs, from cups of human skulls 
Eating and quaffing, ever I behold, 
With eyes that meditation s salve hath cleared, 
The world of diverse jarring elements 
Composed, but still all one with the Supreme. 

" The Buddhist. This man professes the rule of a Kapalika. I will ask 
him what it is (going to him\ O ho, you with the bone and skull neck 
lace ! what are your hopes of happiness and salvation ? 

" The Adept. Wretch of a Buddhist ! Well, hear what is our religion : 

With flesh of men, with brain and fat well smeared. 
We make our grim burnt offering break our fast 
From cups of holy Brahmin s skull, and ever 
With gurgling drops of blood that plenteous stream 
From hard throats quickly cut ; by us is worshipped 
With human offerings meet the dread Bhairava. 

I call at will the best of gods, great Hari, 

And Hara s self and Brahma. I restrain 

With my sole voice the course of stars that wander 

In heaven s bright vault ; the earth, with all its load 

Of mountains, fields, and cities, I at will 

Reduce once more to water ; and, behold, 

I drink it up ! " l 

The mock Mahatmas that the notorious Madame Blavatsky 
professed to be in communication with were credited with 
similar pretensions. They affirmed that there was no God, 
and that the divine powers usually credited to him were in 
their hands. Has she not helped us to the secret of the 
atheism of the Kapalika ? Greed steps forward to secure the 
homage and the oblations that man s nature pays to God. 

The main position of writers like Dr. Oldenberg is that 
the atheistic literature of Ceylon represents the earliest 
Buddhism, the Buddhism of the Little Vehicle. Hwen 
Thsang contradicts this in toto. 

" In Ceylon," he says, " are about ten thousand monks who 

1 Journ. Ben. As. Sac., vol. vi. p. 15. 

RITUAL. 219 

follow the doctrines of the Great Vehicle." 1 He says, more 
over, the controversy raged fiercely for a long time before the 
Great Vehicle was successful over the Little Vehicle. He 
tells as that one of the chief apostles of the Great Vehicle was 
Deva Bodhisatwa, a Cingalese monk. 2 At Kanchipura the 
Chinese pilgrim came across three hundred monks that had 
just fled across the water from Ceylon, to escape the anarchy 
and famine consequent on the death of the king there. 3 Hwen 
Thsang was a sort of Lord High Inquisitor at the Convoca 
tion of Kanouj, that suppressed the Little Vehicle a short 
time afterwards. If a vessel containing three hundred mixed 
Christians from the Low Countries had been wrecked on the 
coast of Spain in the reign of Philip II., we may fairly pre 
sume that any of them released after due inquiry by the Holy 
Office might be considered Catholic, and not Protestant. 

Although more wild theories are abroad concerning 
Buddhism than any other old creed, it has oddly enough the 
most trustworthy archives of all. Within two hundred and 
fifty years of the death of the founder, Asoka carved his credo 
on the rocks 

"Confess and believe in God, who is the worthy object of 
obedience. For equal to this belief I declare unto you ye 
shall not find such a means of propitiating Heaven " First 
Dhauli Edict (Prinsep). 

" Among whomsoever the name of God resteth, this verily 
is religion " Edict, No. VII. (Prinsep). 

" I have appointed religious observances that mankind 
having listened thereto shall be brought to follow in the right 
path, and give glory to God " (Ibid.). 

No cavilling can explain away the word Isana. To the 
Brahmin of Asoka s time it meant the Supreme. And on 
the subject of eternal life of the individual the king is equally 

" I pray with every variety of prayer for those who differ 
with me in creed, that they, following after my example, may 

1 Hwen Thsang, " Histoire," p. 192. 

2 "Mdmoires," vol. i. pp. 218, 277. 

3 Hwen Thsang, " Histoire," p. 192. 


with me attain unto eternal salvation " Delhi Pillar, Edict 
VI. (Prinsep). 

" May they, my loving subjects, obtain happiness in this 
world and in the next " (Burnouf.) 

I have gone fully into this question in my " Popular Life 
of Buddha," 1 but I have come across a fresh piece of evidence. 
The whole question of the nature of early Buddhism is quite 
set at rest by a work called the " Satasahasrika " (the 
Hundred Thousand Verses) also the " Raksha Bhagavati." 
It is in the collection of Nepalese scriptures ; and an abstract 
of it has been given to us by the invaluable scholar, Doctor 
Rajendra Lala Mitra. "It is pre-eminently," says the 
Doctor, " a work of the Mahay ana class, and its main topic 
is the doctrine of Sunyavada, or the evolution of the universe 
from vacuity or nihility." 2 

The work is alleged to have been delivered by Buddha in 
person on the hill Gridhakuta (Vulture s Peak). It was 
attested by many miracles, lambent flames, in which were seen 
many gold lotuses and other portents. 

The disciples of the earlier Buddhism, the " Little Vehicle " 
(Hinayana), are specially attacked in this treatise, and " refuted 
repeatedly," says the Doctor. " The terminology," says the 
same authority, " is borrowed from the Hindu philosophy." 
This quite confirms what the earlier Buddhists said of the 
innovating Buddhism, according to the testimony of Hwen 
Thsang, that it was borrowed from the Sunyavadis of 

The Buddhists of the Little Vehicle, according to the 
same authority, composed a neat sarcasm upon their 
opponents, who had somewhat arrogantly called themselves 
the Buddhists of the "Great Vehicle." They called this 
vehicle, Sunya Pushpa (the vehicle that drives to nowhere). 3 

This lets in a flood of light on the perplexities and con 
tradictions of modern Buddhism. Plump in the way of the 
reckless charioteers of Sunya Pushpa were two formidable 

1 Page 275, et seg. 2 " Napalese Buddhist Literature," p. 178. 
3 Hwen Thsang, " Memoires," p. 220. See also " Popular Life of 
Buddha," chap. xi. p. 171. 


Nirvanapura. i i Your Heavens. 

Formless Spirits Eight Heavens. 

Brahmaloka Three 


Devaloka Six Heavens. 






[Page 221. 

RITUAL. 221 

obstacles. The temples of Buddhism, whether carved in fine 
Indian woodwork, as at the date of Hwen Thsang, or built of 
solid masonry like the old tope whose outline I here give 
(Plate XIV.), represented the heavens to which the Buddhas 
and Jinas repaired after attaining emancipation from re-births. 
Secondly, on entering the temple, the spectator was confronted 
with a colossal figure of Sakya Muni in the centre of the high 
altar, and by this were smaller Buddhas that had got to mean 
his Great Disciples. These were fed every day with oblations ; 
and Buddha was prayed to for spiritual and temporal blessings, 
and asked to forgive the sins of his humble votaries. How 
did the travestied followers of Siva, the Sunyavadis, get over 
all this ? They tried to substitute the Buddha and the saints 
of the future for the Buddha and the saints of the past. The 
eternal heavens got to be tenanted by saints about to be born 
on earth for the last time, although the life of Buddha had 
taught everybody that Tusita, the sixth heaven of the 
Devaloka, was the highest region that these saints could reach. 
And on the altar they tried to set up the Great Buddha of the 
Future, Maitreya. He was to be asked to forgive sins, 
although he had yet to receive pap from his nurse. He was 
to be prayed to for spiritual light, although he had yet to learn 
his catechism. The fancy seems at first the dream of a 
madman, but a moment s reflection shows that it was the best 
of many bad roads. Also the plan has been most brilliantly 
successful. The Sunyavadis defiled all the Buddhist scriptures, 
and deceived millions upon millions of Buddhists in many 
lands. They have also hoodwinked our Pali professors, and 
through Schopenhauer, Parsvika, the leading teacher, is be 
coming the instructor of all Europe. In the matter of the 
Buddhist temple and its rites the new school were only partially 
successful. Buddha and his great disciples still figure on the 
altar, even in Ceylon, the hotbed of the innovating school of 
Buddhism that dethroned God and demolished heaven. But 
he is worshipped as a non-God. Flowers are flung daily to 
this non-God. Morning and evening meals are proffered 
to him. Daily the non-God is asked to forgive sins. We 
need not pursue these absurdities any further. 


Unfortunately, too, the marriage of Church and State, as 
in Christendom later on, killed the life of the movement. It 
seems a law that all great spiritual movements shall promptly 
crystallize into formalism. 

The starving and naked wanderer, with no thought save of 
heaven, was a mighty force for changing the creeds of the 
world. Christ likened His followers to a leaven with which 
He proposed to leaven the mass of humanity. But when 
victory is in sight, and in place of martyrdom the mystic is 
rewarded with prosperity and praise, then greed and self- 
interest are attracted to his ranks ; and the hungry Therapeuts 
become a fat abbey of lazy priests. To Asoka and to Con- 
stantine the same problem presented itself. Given an army 
of idle ascetics, how are they to be lodged and fed ? 

The answer, unfortunately, was the same in both cases. 
From the terrors and greed of the ignorant laity. And the 
processes by which these were stimulated relics, pilgrimages, 
indulgences, dispensations, saint intercessions, the burning 
of candles to obtain supernal aid, the fears of purgatory, and 
the promised joys of a material heaven are too like in both 
creeds to be the result of mere chance. 

The Buddhist had taken over from the Brahman the 
doctrine of Karma and the metempsychosis. This is without 
doubt a priestly invention. It was proclaimed that the 
Buddhist Sramana, having become as nearly as possible one 
with the divine Ruler of the Sky, had necessarily considerable 
influence both in this world and in the next. Karma, or the 
causation of deeds done in the body, carries a soul after 
death to regions of joy or pain, according to its merits. The 
lustful man may become a goat, the cruel man a tiger or a 
jackal. But if there is a Karma powerful for evil, there is 
also a Karma most potent in the opposite direction, and that 
is the Karma that results from a pure life and from ascetic 
practices. This is the mystical force that the priest of 
Buddha is able to set in motion. My avaricious father is a 
jackal. My daughter is in the hell Avichi. She is being 
gnawed by the lovers she deceived, who now assume the form 
of dogs. But the priests of Buddha can nullify these evil 

RITUAL. 223 

results. One hundred prayers before this statue, will release 
your father. It represents Sariputra, the beloved disciple of 
Buddha. The saints of the past remain for ever on the right 
hand and on the left hand of the King of Heaven. They 
have power to perpetually intercede. Build a temple. Feed 
fifty priests daily. These offerings to us are in reality offer 
ings to Tathagata. For your evil deeds you will be born 
slaves, women, rats, and partridges ; but we have the power 
to convert you into rich merchants and princes shining with 
emeralds. 1 


Father Froe s, who visited Japan in 1574, announces that 
dispensations and indulgences, " much after the usages of the 
Catholic Church," were sold by the Buddhist monks there. 
The efficacy of pilgrimages was much insisted on ; and one 
old lady had made so many of the latter, and bought so many 
indulgences, that she was able to make up a dress of them. 
The monks told her that if she were buried in this precious 
paper suit, she would go direct to Amitabha, the supreme 
Buddha, and live for ever with the saints. 2 The Jesuit Father 
d Entrecolles bears similar testimony. He describes a nun 
in China, " a devotee of Buddha much given to prayer (a 
longues prieres). She was inscribed in the muster-roll of a 
famous temple, to which pilgrims came from great distances. 
These pilgrims, on reaching the foot of the mountain, kneel 
and prostrate themselves at every step during the ascent. 
Those who cannot make the pilgrimages, get their friends to 
buy for them a sheet of paper printed and marked all over by 
the Buddhist priests. In the centre is a figure of Buddha, 
surrounded by many small circles. The devotees, male and 
female, pronounce one thousand times this prayer, Namo- 
Omito-Fo (Praise be to Amitabha Buddha ! ) which they have 
received from India, and which they do not understand. 
They then kneel one hundred times. They are then allowed 
to mark one of the many small circles with a red mark. The 

1 Consult Picart, vol. vii. pp. 145, 149, 216, 226, 232. 

2 Froes " Epist. Japonican," lib. iv. 


Buddhist priests are invited to come and authenticate these 
red marks, after uttering certain prayers. The paper, sealed 
carefully up by the priests, is called Lou-in, and is carried 
after death in a casket, during the funeral rites. It costs 
many tae ls, but it is a certain passport to the next world." l 


Confession in the early Church was public, as in Buddhism. 
The dangerous innovation of auricular confession was due to 
Leo the First. 2 


The footprints of Christ are shown in Palestine, and the 
footprints of Buddha in India. The traces of the feet of the 
former at the spot of the Ascension were long famous. 3 


The cowl is common to the monks of Buddhism and 
Christendom. Gibbon, in his thirty-seventh chapter, says of 
the latter, " They wrapped their heads in a cowl to escape the 
sight of profane objects." 


Picart, in his account of the Buddhism of Siam, drawn 
chiefly from the Fathers La Loubere and Tachard, announces 
that the laity there make offerings of candles to the idols of 
Buddha. All offerings must be made through the instrumen 
tality of the talapoins, or monks. 4 


In the Buddhist and Christian rituals are many beautiful 
prayers. But it is plain that a repetition many hundreds of 
times of a mantra or paternoster on a rosary is not purely 

1 " Lettres Edifiantes," xiii. 

2 Rev. G. Waddington, " History of the Church," chap. ix. p. 126. 

3 "Jortin," vol. iii. pp. 87, 88. 

4 Vol. vii. p. 65. See also p. 140. 



praying. It seems to me unmeaning without the Buddhist 
doctrine of Karma to explain it, namely, that by it a stored- 
up merit or magic is accumulated. And this seems practically 
the Catholic conception as well as the Buddhist. 


The Buddhist funeral is partly the merry-making of an 
Irish wake, partly the solemn ceremonials of Catholic Europe. 
Comedians are hired whose farces have no reference to death. 
Fireworks sputter, and food is lavished on all. But Catholic 
missionaries have been struck on these occasions with the 
close similarity of the Buddhist and the Catholic rites. A 
chapelle ardente is erected; and candles burn incessantly 
before it, and incense smokes. Each night a choir of tala- 
poins comes into the mortuary chamber and chants in Pali 
the sacred hymns, much after the fashion of Italy and Spain. 1 


The Buddhist chronology dates from the epoch of Buddha, 
as the Christian from the epoch of Christ. The Nirvana 
commences the Buddhist epoch. 


The earliest Christian festivals were simply the Jewish 
ones. 2 The Feast of the Nativity was not celebrated until 
the fourth century," says Riddle. 3 The 
three great Jewish festivals the sowing, 
reaping, and Pentecost were the same 
as the Buddhist. Of course, the Pass 
over or Easter originally began the year. 
On "the fourteenth day of the first 
month " (Numb. ix. 5) it was celebrated. 
Many of the Easter rites still exhibit 
this derivation, witness the taper-light 
ing, a symbol of the birth of the new sun-god. The Easter 

1 See La Loube re, "Description," etc. vol. i. p. 371. 

2 Riddle, " Christian Antiquities," p. 607. 3 Ibid., p. 618. 



eggs were unintelligible to me until I came across the 
Buddhist mystical egg. 

The legend is that at the beginning of each dispensation 
or mystical year, the angel with the diamond spear strikes this 
egg, left like Brahma s egg behind by the dead race, and at 
once the yolk and the white divide as exhibited. One part 
represents the unrevealed Buddha, the other the conceivable 
Buddha, the eternal dualism of all mystics. 


More important are the ecumenical councils introduced 
into the early Christian Church to suppress heresy. Where 
did they come from ? Such an idea is foreign to the genius 
alike of the dominant Roman and Jewish religions. Both 
were religions of outside ceremonial, and as long as this was 
complied with, their priests were satisfied. They did not 
pursue their scrutiny into the recesses of the worshipper s 
brain to see if his metaphysics kept proper pace with orthodox 
changes and fashions. In the records of Buddhism five 
principal ecumenical councils are noticed. The first took 
place at Rajagriha, three months after Buddha s death. The 
second, a rather mythical convocation, is said to have taken 
place at Vaisali, one hundred years after the first. The third 
was summoned by King Asoka. The fourth took place, as 
I have mentioned, under the patronage of King Kaniska 
(A.D. 10), and introduced the doctrine that man, after his 
emancipation from re-birth, becomes unconscious. The fifth, 
under King Siladitya, tried to suppress early Buddhism alto 
gether. These two last convocations established the pernicious 
originality that a creed is more commodiously turned topsy 
turvy from within than from without. Men are the slaves 
less of ideas than words, especially such words as " ortho 
doxy" and "heresy. Irenaeus and Pope Victor profited by 
this lesson. A heretic in Christianity, as in Buddhism, got to 
mean a man born two or three hundred years too soon to 
adopt orthodox innovations. 




We have seen that more than one Catholic writer has 
drawn attention to the similarity between the Buddhist and 
Christian hierarchy. Bishop Bigandet has pointed out that 
in independent Buddhist countries like Burmah, there is a 
Superior-General, and under him Provincials. Then come the 
abbots, or heads of monasteries, and so on, "a distinct 
hierarchy, well marked with constitutions and rules." l 


Father Grueber, on visiting Lha Sa, the capital of Tibet, 
A.D. 1 66 1, was very much shocked to find that the devil had 
struck at Christianity in its most vital part. He had invented 
a mock potentate, to whom were offered honours that are due 
alone to the vicar of Christ. 2 The faithful were required to 
fall flat before the grand lama of Tibet, to knock their heads 
upon the ground, and to crawl forward and kiss his feet. 3 
Like the pope, he was the acknowledged head of the Buddhist 
Church all over the world. 

We have seen that at the great monastery of Nalanda, 
when Hwen Thsang visited it, there was a sovereign pontiff of 
Buddhism. That monastery was destroyed by the Brahmins 
in the eighth century, and the Buddhists were driven out of 
India. The grand lama is, as it seems to me, this great 
pontiff, driven to take refuge amongst the mountains of Tibet. 
China and Japan and Tibet acknowledge him as the head of 
Buddhism ; and the other day, when Lord Dufferin was 
reluctant to nominate the Tsaia-dau or "archbishop" of 
Burmah, China threatened to put in her right. The Pontiff 
of Nalanda was so sacred, that none dare pronounce his name. 
He was called the Acharya, and the pontiff in Tibet has a 
similar name, the " Master of Doctrine." 4 Mons. de Remusat 
tells us that in a Japanese encyclopaedia it is announced that 
Buddha, from the earliest days, was accustomed to come 

1 " Vie de Gaudama," p. 477. 

2 See " Histoire des Voyages," vol. ix. p. 130. s Ibid _ 
4 De Remusat, "Origine de 1 Hierarchie Lamaique," p. 27. 


back to earth as a " teacher of kings." l This is confirmed 
by Mr. Rockhill s "Life of the Buddha," where Ananda, 
Buddha s favourite disciple, and Upagupta, had the title of 
" Buddha " given to them, 2 when each became in succession 
the head of the Church. Also, when Hwen Thsang visited 
the Acharya at Nalanda, he was obliged to perform the same 
prostrations, crawlings, head knockings against the ground, 
etc., that shocked Father Grueber in Tibet 3 

And when we come to consider the method by which a 
grand lama and a pope is each elected, the points of simi 
larity increase. When the grand lama dies, all the faithful 
devote themselves to prayer and meditation. Prayer barrels 
revolve, and search is made for the infant in whom the soul of 
Buddha is once more to be born. The list of candidates is 
finally narrowed to three. Then, as we learn from the Abbe 
Hue, the whole body of cardinals (chutuktus) is assembled. 
They are shut up in a temple of Buddha-La, and pass six 
days in retreat, in prayer, in fasting. The seventh day, the 
names of the three candidates are written on gold plates and 
placed in an urn. The senior chutuktu draws the lot, and 
the child whose name is drawn is immediately proclaimed 
Delai Lama, and carried in state through the town. 4 

All this reminds one of the election of a pope, on which 
occasion cardinals of the Church erect a little lath and plank 
monastery in the splendid Loggia of the Vatican, and 
masquerade as humble Therapeut monks in pink satin. Each 
humble monk has two servants, one civil, one religious. They 
fetch him his food, like the Sramanero of a Buddhist convent. 
The food when brought is inspected by certain prelates to see 
that the ortolans contain no missive from the French ambas 
sador, and that Austria has not sought to bias the election by 
a surreptitious note inserted in the Johannisberger or Chateau 
Yquem. Three times a day the silken monks are summoned 
to the Sistine Chapel to pray for divine guidance in their 
choice. The special mass on these occasions is called the 

1 De Remusat, " Origine de 1 Hierarchie Lamaique," pp. 24, 25. 

2 Ibid., pp. 164, 165. 3 Hwen Thsang, vol. i. p. 144. 
4 Hue, " Voyages," vol. ii. p. 244. 

RITUAL. 229 

" Mass of the Holy Ghost." The special costume for each 
cardinal during these celebrations is a cope of crimson silk 
made exactly like a monk s cloak. Voting papers with fan 
tastic scrolls are given to each, and an urn is sent round to 
any cardinal who has been pronounced too sick to be walled 
up in his little lath and plank cell. When the pope is elected, 
guns roar out and silver trumpets sound, and his holiness 
passes along in solemn procession, like the lama in his 
vimana, with umbrellas and smoking incense and waving fans 
He is placed on the great altar of St. Peter s, and worshipped 
like the lama of Tibet 1 

The grand lama is chosen by lot, chance, the Holy Spirit ; 
the pope by chicane. Plainly the elaborate apparatus at the 
Vatican is not in harmony with its pitiful work. It is a copy, 
reproduction, the histrionics of something else. What ? 
Matthias was chosen by lot by the Church at Jerusalem, and 
John the Baptist, Christ, and St. James, each ruled the whole 
of mystical Israel, the Church of the West. If Palestine at 
the date of Christ, and as I believe for one hundred and fifty 
years before and after, was in close communication with the 
Acharya of Nalanda, this and the thousand other points of 
close contact between Buddhism and Christianity may be 
accounted for. I know no other manner. 

1 Picart, " Cerem.," vol. i. p. 34. 




WE now come to the question, How did Buddhism reach the 
West ? And here Professor Kellogg is triumphant. He cites 
Professor Kuenen, who it appears has announced that he can 
" safely affirm " that Buddhism had no influence at all on the 
origin of Christianity. 1 He cites Bishop Lightfoot, who has 
stated that there is " no notice in either heathen or Christian 
writers which points to the presence of a Buddhist within the 
limits of the Roman empire till long after the Essenes had 
ceased to exist." He cites Professor J. Estlin Carpenter, who 
has committed himself to the somewhat extreme statement 
that from the date of the preaching of Buddha until the 
advent of Christianity "no channel of communication " existed 
between Buddhist countries and the West 2 But he ignores 
Deans Mansel and Milman, and is silent about Colebrooke, 
and Lassen, and Prinsep. Also he has not a word to say 
about the testimony of Asoka, and the flood of light let in 
upon the intercourse between India and the West by recent 

By the early Phoenicians the commerce of the East was 
carried across Arabia from the port of Gerrha in the Persian 
Gulf. It was then shipped on the Red Sea and carried up 
the yElanitic Gulf on its road to Tyre. That some of the 
commodities must have come from India is proved from the 
fact cited by Herodotus, that cassia and cinnamon were 
amongst them, which articles could not be found nearer than 

1 " Light of Asia, etc.," p. 251. 

2 Nineteenth Centiiry, Dec., 1880, p. 979. 


Ceylon or the Malabar coast. 1 To reach Tyre, these goods 
had to pass close to the haunts of the Essenes near the Dead 

" The Phoenicians," says Mr. Cust, the Hon. Secretary of 
the Royal Asiatic Society, " were in contact with India at 
least as early as the time of Solomon. . . . Then, as now, 
India had intercourse with the Western world through two 
channels, by land and by sea." Mr. Cust proceeds to show 
that, from the tenth to the third century B.C., Yemen 
was the great central mart in which Indian products were 
exchanged for merchandize of the West. For a prolonged 
period this lucrative traffic was in the hands of the Sabeans> 
and was the main source of their proverbial opulence. The 
trade between Egypt and Yemen began as early as 2300 B.C. ; 
that between Yemen and India was established not later than 
1000 B.C. Even in the time of the Ptolemies the Indian trade 
was not direct, but passed through the hands of the Sabeans, 
who possessed extensive commerce and large vessels. Their 
ports were frequented by trading vessels from all parts : from 
the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the coast of Africa, and 
especially from the mouth of the Indus. From the Periplus 
we learn that Aden was a great entrepot of this commerce, 
while at the beginning of the second century B.C. the island of 
Socotra was the centre of exchange for Indian products. Mr. 
Cust argues that the Indians got their alphabet from the 
hieratic form of the Egyptian hieroglyphics. 2 

But Alexander s expedition gave a great spur to the inter 
course between India and the West. Bactria and Persia were 
in the hands of the Seleucidan dynasty, until Persia revolted. 

This brought Antiochus the Great into the field to restore 
the authority of the Greeks. According to Polybius, he led 
his army into India and renewed his alliance with Sophaga- 
senes, king of that country. As the Asoka edicts were incised 
on rocks some six years after Antiochus came to the throne, 
Prinsep and Wilford believe this to be an allusion to him. 3 

1 Bunbury, " Hist. Ancient Geography," vol. i. p. 219. 

2 Journ. Royal As, Soc., July, 1884. " Origin of Indian Alphabet." 

3 Prinsep, Journ. Ben. As. Sac., vol. vii. p. 162. 


Meanwhile the building of Alexandria had given a powerful 
fillip to the intercourse with India by sea. Alexander had 
designed it to be the capital of his vast empire, and the bridge 
between India and the West. This project was ably carried 
out after his death by his lieutenant, the first Ptolemy. 
Under his wise government, and that of his successor, Alex 
andria soon became the first commercial city in the world. 
Of more importance even was his large tolerance of creeds, 
whether Egyptian, or Grecian, or Jewish. In the year 209 
B.C., Ptolemy Evergetes was on the throne. He conquered 
Abyssinia and a greater part of Asia, including Syria, Phoenicia, 
Babylonia, Persis, Media. His conquests extended to Bactria, 
and he had a large fleet on the Red Sea. This placed him in 
contact with India from two different directions. 

He married the daughter of Magas, king of Cyrene. 
Macedonia was ruled by Antigone at this particular date. 

This brings us to the celebrated rock inscriptions of King 
Asoka, surnamed Devanampiyo, the beloved of the devas or 
spirits. They have set at rest for ever the question whether 
Buddhism was propagated westwards. 

On the Girnar Rock, in Gujerat, the name of Antiochus 
the Great occurs four times. This is one passage 

" And moreover within the dominions of Antiochus, the 
Greek king, of which Antiochus s generals are the rulers, 
everywhere Piyadasi s (Asoka s) double system of medical 
aid is established, both medical aid for men and medical aid 
for animals, together with medicaments of all sorts, which 
are suitable for men and suitable for animals." l 

This is the second inscription : 

" And the Greek king besides, by whom the four Greek 
kings Ptolemaios, and Gengakenos, and Magas . . . (have 
been induced to permit) . . . 

" Both here and in foreign countries everywhere (the 
people) follow the doctrine of the religion of Devanampiya, 
wheresoever it reacheth." 2 

Now, here we have, indelibly carved in the rocks, a pure 
piece of history. It shows that the Buddhist king Asoka 

1 Prinsep, Journ. Ben. As. Soc., vol. vii. p. 159. 2 j^^ p 2 lt 


was closely associated with the Greeks, and that he sent 
missionaries to Egypt. It shows, furthermore, that at any 
rate he was under an impression that the Buddhist religion 
had been there established. One more piece of evidence 
I may notice here. In the " Mahawanso," or old history of 
Ceylon, it is announced that on the occasion of the building 
of the Buddhist tope of Ruanwelli, enormous numbers of 
Buddhist monks came from all parts, including thirty thousand 
" from the vicinity of A lasadda, the capital of the Yona 
(Greek) country." In the same history is a statement that 
Asoka did send a missionary named Maharakkhita to Greece. 1 

A lasadda is agreed by all Orientalists to be Alexandria. 
Bishop Lightfoot considers that the passage refers to Alex 
andria ad Caucasum, a not very important town some 
twenty-five miles from Cabul. Koppen, on the other hand, 
and Helgenfeld, consider that "Alexandria, the capital of 
the Yona country," must be Alexandria in Egypt. The 
Buddhist history states that the monks all Indian histories 
exaggerate numbers came from " the vicinity " of Alex 
andria. This word, I think, is important. It was in the 
vicinity of Alexandria that convents of monks, practising 
rites precisely like those of the Buddhists, existed in large 
numbers in the days of Philo. It is to be observed that it 
would be more easy to get to Ceylon from Alexandria in 
Egypt than from Alexandria ad Caucasum (Beghram). 

It may be mentioned here that the Saturday Review, in 
its onslaught on the " bold assertions " of Professor Kellogg, 
points out that Nagasena, a Buddhist, had a discussion with 
Menander in the capital of Syria. 2 

But even if no Buddhist came to the West, without doubt 
Buddhism did. For about this time there arose in Alexandria 
a teaching called "Gnosticism." This word is the exact 
Greek equivalent of " Buddhism " (Sans., Bodhi), and it 
simply means interior or spiritual knowledge. That the 
anti-mystical section of the early Christian Church was quite 
aware whence Gnosticism came is shown by the form of 

1 " Mahawanso," p. 171. 

2 Saturday Review, February 6, 1886. 


adjudication prescribed for those who renounced it. It ex 
pressly mentions Bo SSa and Scu0mvo9 (Sakya). 1 

Attempts have been made to put forward the date of the 
introduction of Gnosticism to the second century A.D., but an 
able article in the new "Encyclopaedia Britannica," by Principal 
Tulloch, shows how futile these attempts have been. He 
says that at the date of Christ, Egypt and Syria were so 
saturated with it that it was " in the air." It is to be found 
" especially in the theology of the Alexandrian Jews." It is 
"represented in the writings of Philo and in the influence 
flowing from the Persian and Buddhist religions. It is in 
the Septuagint and the Book of Wisdom. He cites also a 
number of texts showing Gnosticism in the New Testament. 
In this he follows Herder, Mosheim, Hammond, and Brucker, 
who, as Mutter shows, " discover Gnosticism and the eastern 
philosophy on almost every page " of that sacred volume. 2 

According to Principal Tulloch, the Gnostics taught that 
the universe "does not proceed immediately from a Supreme 
Being." The god of the Gnostics, like En Soph of the 
" Kabbalah," is formless, inconceivable, inactive, and, being 
perfect, is incapable of imperfect work. This god is called 
by Basilides "The Unnameable," and by Valentinus "Buthos" 
(the Abyss). 

" From this transcendent source," says Principal Tulloch, 
" existence springs by emanation in a series of spiritual 
powers. It is only through these powers, or energies, that 
the infinite passes into life and activity, and becomes capable 
of representation." To this higher spiritual world is given 
the name of nXq/obi/ia (Pleroma), and the divine powers com 
posing it in their ever-expanding procession from the highest 
are called al&vss (VEons). 

The Buddhist words Nirvritti and Pravritti are the Buthos 
and Pleroma of the Gnostics. It was held that for countless 
millions of ages Swayambhu brooded in Nirvritti, rayless, 
quiescent, unfashioned matter, or perhaps I should write 
spiritual substance. Then from him emanated Padmapani 

1 Hunter s " India Gazetteer," citing Weber. 

2 " Histoire Critique de Gnosticisme," vol. i. p. 124. 



and the four other Dhyani (heavenly) Buddhas. In Gnos 
ticism, from "The Unnameable," the inactive unborn God, 
dwelling in Buthos, proceeded five Beings as ./Eons, Nou?, 
Aoyo?, <Ppo vrjcrt9, So</*m, Awa/it?, who peopled the spaces with 
bright spirits dwelling in luminous worlds. This fashioned, 
organic, luminous matter, was the Pleroma, or Buddhist 
Pravritti ; Nous and Padmapani being the active artificers 
in either case. The luminous world systems were called 
Ogdoads. In Buddhism they are called Buddha Kshetras, 
luminous counterparts of the starry dome of heaven, with the 
Great Dragon for apex and the zodiac for base. Padmapani 
means bearing the lotus, a bud from the great cosmical 
emblem. In Gnostic gems and Buddhist sculptures the 
Divine Child is usually represented either seated on a lotus 
or holding a bud in his hand. 

Here is a representation of the Child Christ taken from 
the catacombs. He also 
is emerging from a lotus 
or lily. 

Padmapani is also 
called Manas, a complete 
equivalent for Nous, the 
head ^Eon of the Gnos 
tics. 1 

We have shown that 
Buddha, as the elephant 
issuing from the mighty 
fish, symbolized the ac 
tive God ruling in Pra 
vritti, or the Pleroma. The 
same is said of Christ. 

" It was the Father s 
good pleasure that in 

Fig. 21. 

Him the \v\\Q\epleroma should have its home" (Col. i. 19). 
" In Him dwells the whole pleroma of the j G ^ t ead } 
bodily shape, [i.e. corporeally ] " (Col. ii. 9). 

1 Hodgson, " Languages, etc., of Nipal," p. 78. 


"The Church which is His body, the pleroma of Him that 
filleth all in all" (Eph. i. 23). 

" That ye may be filled unto all the pleroma of God, unto 
the measure of the stature of the pleroma of Christ" 
(Eph. iii. 19). 

"Of His pleroma we all received" (John i. 16). 

In the great controversy carried on by the Gnostics, these 
texts were considered most important. Their works have 
been burnt ; but we see from Irenaeus that they also relied on 
the frequent mention of the Gnostic /Eons in the New 

" Even the mystery which hath been hid from the /Eons 
and generations, but now is made manifest to his saints " 
(Col. i. 26). 

"According to the purpose of the /Eons, which He 
purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph. iii. n). 

The Gnostics, too, pointed out in the "giving" (com 
munion), the prayer to "the /Eons of the aeon." 1 

Perhaps the following passage, from the Liturgy of St. 
James, is what is alluded to 

"O beneficent King of the /Eons, and Maker of the whole 
creation." 2 

The same Gnostics, in their controversy with Irenaeus, 
cited (Eph. ii. 21). 

" To all the generat ons of the /Eons of the aeon." They 
asserted, too, as I have shown, that the twelve disciples 
signified the twelve mystical months of Christ s life, the 
twelve /Eons residing in the pleroma ; that the twelfth was 
Christ s death, the " suffering /Eon ; " that the woman with 
the issue of blood twelve years, meant also the mystic cured 
at last. 3 

They asserted, too, that all created things were images of 
the /Eons, and a shadow of the pleroma. 4 

The words " Gnosis " and " Sophia " are used for mystical 
or interior knowledge all through the New Testament. 

1 Iren., " Hser.," bk. i. 3. 

2 Neal, "Liturgies of the Greek Church," p. 32. 

3 Iren., " Haer.," lib. i. 3. 4 Ibid., ii. 7, 8. 


"Wisdom is justified of her children," says Christ 
(Matt xi. 19). 

"Walk in Sophia," says St. Paul (Col. iv. 5). 

"And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the 
Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to pre 
pare His ways ; to give the Gnosis of salvation unto His 
people " (Luke i. 76, 77). 

" But grow in grace, and in the Gnosis of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter iii. 18). 

" O the depth of the riches both of Sophia and Gnosis of 
God " (Rom. xi. 33). 

Now it seems significant of the extreme distance that we 
have travelled from the great spiritual thought of the epoch 
of Christ, that a candid and acute writer like Principal 
Tulloch should finish his article on Gnosticism in the way 
that he does. He admits the Buddhist derivation of it. He 
admits that Philo and the Septuagint and the New Testa 
ment are full of it ; but he holds, if I read his article aright, 
that when Christ s disciples described their Master as the 
King of ^Eons, and Lord of the Pleroma, the Son who alone 
could reveal the Father, whom no man has seen, they some 
how spoke not as missionaries, but victims of a phraseology 
that they did not understand. 

Instead of the Gnosis of the mysteries of the kingdom of 
heaven being the quintessence of Christianity, it was a foreign 
and indeed a hostile accretion. A dull monk, named Irenasus, 
has so pronounced, and his doctrine is final. 

Of course, the poor Gnostics of Alexandria might have 
replied, " If you think, like Irenaeus, that the idea of an in 
visible Father, dwelling in Buthos, is an absurdity ; if you 
think, like him, that the world was created by the Father, and 
not the Son, why base your Christianity exclusively on our 
writings? You must either discard the Fourth Gospel, or 
allow its authors to explain its meaning." 

In point of fact, the notion of a Divine Son being born 
from the Eternal Father, by the help of Sophia, though the 
breath of life of the religion of the Gnosis is an unmanageable 
accretion in the lower or temple Christianity. On the plane 


of matter the tritheism of the Council of Nice has been judged 
by the thought of modern Europe and condemned. This is 
the case within, as well as without the Church, and in Eng 
land most conspicuously. The trinity idea is nominally 
accepted, but Broad Churchmen are monotheists who worship 
the Father, Low Churchmen are monotheists who worship the 
Son, and High Churchmen are monotheists who worship the 
Holy Ghost. 

" O God the Father of heaven : have mercy upon us miser 
able sinners." 

" O God the Son, Redeemer of the world : have mercy upon 
us miserable sinners." 

" O God the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and 
the Son : have mercy upon us miserable sinners." 

Unitarians maintain that whatever the Athanasian Creed 
may be, this liturgy is either pure polytheism or pure nonsense, 
and it is difficult to find a flaw in their reasoning. 

Man comes into the world and schemes and dreams. He 
grows grey prematurely, to hand down his name as a states 
man, poet, soldier, founder of a house. But athwart his 
schemes and dreams comes a universal experience failure. 
The inner life and the outer life can never correspond. Years 
pass, and the hard facts of existence, famines and spoliation, and 
wars and misery perplex the dreamer s mind. Alone at night 
new thoughts crowd upon him. He dreams of a God dis 
tinct from the God of priests and creeds. Beyond the 
Pleroma, beyond the million twinkling Ogdoads, the starry 
Buddha Kshetras of the Buddhist, sits the Unnameable, a 
God that evades alike philosophers and workers in marble. 

To such a dreamer, a trinity is a necessity. Only through 
the anthropomorphic God can he get at the Unseen. And 
that, not by the aid of brain and Bible, but by the aid of 
Sophia, the Holy Ghost. 

It is a relief to turn from modern polemical writers to the 
fine Gnosticism of Clement of Alexandria. Kaye, the late 
Bishop of Lincoln, has a chapter in his work, " Clement of 
Alexandria," which gives, chiefly from the Stromata, a good 
analysis of what the father calls the teaching of the " Christian 


Gnostic." Clement declares that there is a "twofold know 
ledge." The first is the " milk for babes " of St. Paul. The 
second is the " strong meat " of the Gnosis. The first is 
" common to all mankind, irrational as well as rational, being 
derived through the senses ; " and the other, called the Gnosis, 
receives its character from mind and reason. 1 The higher 
knowledge was " not designed for the multitude, but com 
municated to those only who were capable of receiving it 
orally, not by writing." 2 Peter, James, John, and Paul, 
specially received this Gnosis from Christ 3 John the Baptist 
and Job are conspicuous examples of Gnostics under the old 
law. The Gnostic " alone possess the true and spiritual mean 
ing of the scriptures." To him " the sayings of our Lord, 
though obscure to others, are clear and manifest." 4 The 
words the " Elect," the " Seed of Abraham," the " Called," 
the " Spiritual Levite," the " True Israelite," the " Friend and 
Son," the " King," do not refer to literal Hebrews, but to the 
winnowed group of earth s high mystics. 5 Gnosticism is the 
" divine science." It is " the light that comes into the soul." 
It is a " rational death, separating the soul from the passions." 6 
It is not born with men ; it is a growth, a " mystical habit," 
acquired by degrees. 7 By it " man becomes assimilated to 
God." 8 He gains the privilege of being called " brother " by 
Christ. He is the friend and son of God ; 9 he is the "God- 
bearer ; " he is God, walking in the flesh. 

The Unnameable of the Gnostics is very like the God of 
Fichte s fine prayer 

" Exalted and living Will, whom no name can express 
and no idea embrace, I yet may raise my heart to Thee ! for 
Thou and I art not divided. Thy voice is audible within me. 
In Thee, the Incomprehensible, my own nature and the whole 
world become intelligible to me ; every riddle of existence is 
solved, and perfect harmony reigns in my soul. I veil my 
face before Thee, and lay my hand upon my lips. Such as 

1 Kaye, " Clement of Alexandria," pp. 239, 247. See also Clement, 
S. L. 6 D. ccxxxvii. i. 

2 Ibid., p. 241. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid., 240. 5 Ibid., p. 253. 
6 Ibid., 240. 7 Ibid., 239. 8 Ibid., 233. 9 Ibid., 242. 


Thou really art such as Thou appearest unto Thyself 
I can no more behold Thee than I can become like Thee. 
After thousands of thousands of lives such as superior spirits 
live, I should be as little able to understand Thee as in this 
house of clay. What I understand is, from my very under 
standing it, finite, and by no progression can ever be 
transformed into the infinite. Thou di fife rest from the finite, 
not in degree, but in kind. I will not attempt that which 
my finite nature forbids. I will not seek to know the nature 
and the essence of Thy being. But Thy relations to myself and 
to all that is finite lie open before my eyes. Thou Greatest 
in me the consciousness of my duty of my destination in 
the series of rational beings ; how, I know not, nor need I to 
know. Thou knowest my thoughts and acceptest my inten 
tions. In the contemplation of this, Thy relation to my finite 
nature, I will be tranquil and happy. Of myself I know not 
what I ought to do. I will do it simply, joyfully, and without 
cavil, for it is Thy voice that commands me, and the strength 
with which I perform my duty is Thy strength. I am tran 
quil under every event of the world, for it is Thy world. 
Whatever happens forms part of the plan of the eternal world 
and of Thy goodness. What in this plan is positive good, 
and what only means of removing existing evil, I know not. 
In Thy world all will end in good this is enough for me, and 
in this faith I stand fast but what in Thy world is mere 
germ, what blossom, and what the perfect fruit, I know not. 
The only thing which is important to me is the progress of 
reason and of morality through all the ranks of rational 

"When my heart is closed to all earthly desires, the 
universe appears to my eye in a glorified aspect. The dead 
cumbrous masses which served only to fill space, disappear, 
and in their place the eternal stream of life and strength and 
action flows on from its source primeval life ; from Thy 
life, Thou Everlasting One ! " Fichte, " Bestimmung des 


Christianity at AlexandriaThe Church at Jerusalem. 


I NOW come to a very important question. Was there any 
connection between the Therapeut monasteries of Alexandria 
and the subsequent Christian monasteries in Egypt and else 
where ? Smith s " Dictionary of Christian Antiquities," denies 
this unhesitatingly, and dates the Christian monasteries not 
earlier than the fourth century. On the other hand, Catholic 
writers maintain that it is quite impossible to make any 
historical gap or line of severance between the Therapeuts, 
"the monks of the old law," 1 as St. Jerome calls them, and 
the Christian monks of Alexandria. Eusebius, St. Jerome, 
Sozomenes, and Cassien, all maintained that monasteries in 
Christendom were due to the Therapeut converts of St. Mark, 
the first Bishop of Alexandria. Eusebius, in point of fact, 
has an elaborate chapter to show that Philo, in his book "The 
Contemplative Life," made a mistake, and sketched a com 
munity of Christians, believing them to be Jews. St. Jerome 
makes the same assertion ; and it is well known that the poet 
Racine, in a fit of piety, translated Philo s treatise to be used 
as a Catholic book of devotion. It is important that no writer 
in the early Christian Church could see any difference between 
a Therapeut and a Christian monastery. Without doubt the 
three grades of Christian ecclesiastics the ephemereut or 
bishop, the presbyter, and the diakonos, were derived from 
the three grades of Therapeut monks. 
1 Epist. IV. ad Rust. 



If, too, there was no connection between the Therapeuts 
of Alexandria and the early Christians, why was the word 
" Therapeut " first used to name the new sect ? " The 
Christians," says Bingham, citing Epiphanius, " were at first 
called Therapeutae and Jessians." * The word " Jessians," by 
the same Father, was pronounced an equivalent of " Essenes." 2 
St. Dionysius the Areopagite furnishes us with another 
important fact. The word Therapeut, in the early church, 
was used to describe the third and highest grade of Christian 
initiation, the perfected adept. 

The other names given to Christians in the earliest times 
are important. The school of philosophy at Alexandria was 
called, by the outside world, " The Eclectics," and so were 
the early Christians. They were also named " Brethren," 
"Believers," "Saints," "Temples of God," "Temples of 
Christ," 3 all strange names for professed anti-mystics. It 
must be remembered that the perfected Essene was called 
" The Temple of the Holy Ghost." 

Another important name was made use of. The early 
Christians were called " Gnostics." Clement of Alexandria 
calls himself a Christian Gnostic. Athanasius and Evagrius 
Ponticus also make use of the same term. Socrates cites 
a passage from the writings of the latter which describes 
"a monk of great renown, of the sect of the Gnostics ; " and 
he shows that this alludes to " a monk in a village called 
Parembole, near Alexandria, whom Evagrius and the rest 
called by the then known name of Christian Gnostics." 4 

The monks of the Greek Church still retain traces of the 
Therapeut influence. The strictest, those of the " Great 
Habit," content themselves with four, and even two hours 
sleep. They eat no flesh ; they never drink anything but 
water. They are cenobites ; and some, in a little garden 
with figs, grapes, and cherries, still attempt to be anchorites, 
like St. Anthony. In the Greek Church the consecrated 

1 "Antiquities of the Christian Church," vol. i. p. i. 

2 u Hser.," ii. 29. 

3 Bingham, " Antiquities of the Christian Church," vol. i. pp. 3, 4. 

4 Bingham, " Antiquities of the Christian Church," p. 4. 


bread (pain benit) is almost as much esteemed as that of the 
communion table, and the holy water is drunk eagerly by 
the sick, etc., plain echoes of early Essenism. The poorer 
monks cultivate the land as in an Essene monastery. In the 
centre of the monastery is the sanctuary detached with its 
"holy gate." The cells are ranged around as in a Buddhist 
convent. 1 The monasteries send out their begging friars. 2 

Bishop Bigandet has pointed out that there are " numerous 
points of close similarity " between the Christian and Buddhist 
ceremonies when a novice is received into a monastery. 8 The 
main rite in both cases seems to consist in what Christendom 
calls " casting off the old man," as symbolized by the secular 
dress, and donning the new, the dalmatic, alb, and other 
monkish garments, identical, as we have shown, in Christianity 
and Buddhism. With the Buddhists the head is clean shaved 
on the occasion, with the Christians a rim of hair is left to 
represent the " crown of thorns." 4 The Christian postulant 
appears bearing a lighted taper. In Buddhism a light is also 
kindled. The Buddhist postulant has a ring placed on his 
finger, and so does the abbot in a monastery. 5 In the Greek 
Church the " Contacium " 6 is produced, in the Buddhist the 
" Patimokkha," both works being the regulations of monastic 
life. A fan is given alike to the Buddhist and to the deacon 
in the Greek Church. 7 Vows of poverty, chastity, and 
obedience are pronounced in both cases after much cate 
chizing, bell-ringing, incense-burning, hymns to the Buddhist 
or Christian Triad, etc. At one moment the Bible is placed 
on the head of the postulant. In Buddhism the same cere 
mony is performed with the Pancha Raksha Sastra. 8 The 
head of the monastery (abbot from abba, father), with 
crozier and mitre, conducts the proceedings in both religions. 
A feast terminates the proceedings with the Buddhists, after 
the neophyte has been allowed to offer the food oblations to 

1 See Picart, " Ce re monies, etc.," vol. i. pp. 67-71, 100-109 

2 Ibid., vol. iii. p. 136. 3 Gaudama," p. 488. 

4 Picart, " Ce re monies," vol. ii. p. 130. 

5 Compare Hodgson, p. 140, and Picart, vol. ii. p. 143. 

6 Picart, vol. iii. p. 132. 7 Ibid., p. 131. 

8 Compare Picart, vol. iii. p. 132, with Hodgson, p. 143. 


the statues of Buddha and his saints. 1 At the ordination 
of a priest the same power is given by the ceremony of 
touching the communion chalice and pattine. 2 In a Greek 
monastery is an interesting ceremony. At the termination of 
the chief meal in the refectory, the presiding monk blesses 
a small portion of the food and drink, and it is handed round 
to all, quite reproducing the Therapeut " mysteries " of Philo. 3 


This brings us to the Church of Jerusalem ; and the 
hastiest glance at the first popular work that describes it 
shows us that it was closely modelled on a Therapeut com 
munity. Renan, in his work " Les Apotres," calls it " a 
monastery without iron gates." 4 Migne, " Dictionnaire des 
Abbayes," brings it forward to overthrow the Protestant 
position that monasteries were unknown in the early church. 5 
Its members were cenobites, as Renan shows. 6 "No one 
possessed anything that he could call his own. On becoming 
a disciple of Jesus, he sold his goods and gave the proceeds 
to the society. The officers of the society distributed this as 
each had need. All lived together in one quarter of the 
city." 7 

There were other points of close similarity. The disciples 
lived in groups of houses, with a central house as a place of 
meeting, making the resemblance to a Therapeut or Buddhist 
monastery as close as was practicable in a hostile city. 8 " Long 
hours were passed in prayer. Ecstasies were frequent. Each 
one believed himself constantly under the influence of divine 
inspiration." 9 The breaking of bread was mystical and sacra 
mental. " The bread itself became in a certain sense Jesus, 
conceived as the sole source of human strength." 10 These 
repasts, which Renan calls the " soul of Christian mysteries," 
took place first of all at night, as with the Therapeuts. They 

1 Hodgson, p. 142. 2 Picart, vol. ii. p. 133. 

3 Ibid., vol. iii. p. 137. 4 Renan, "Les Apotres," p. 75. 

5 Ibid., p. 970. 6 Ibid., pp. 75, 86. 

7 Ibid., p. 76 ; see also Acts ii. 44, 46, 47. 

8 Ibid., p. 76 ; Acts xii. 12. 9 Ibid., p. 76. 10 Ibid., p. 76. 


were then restricted to evenings of Sunday, and by-and-by 
were celebrated in the morning. The temporary chef de table, 
as Renan calls him, broke the bread and blessed the cup. 
Here we have the ephemereut of the Therapeuts. 1 Into these 
poor houses of holy beggars the commonest beggar found 
admittance. This was, as Renan suggests, the great engine 
of propagandism. Penury found clothing and food and 
sympathy. The proud exclusiveness of the high caste Jews 
was denounced. The doors of heaven were thrown open to 
the poor man. 2 

We see, too, that within a year or two of Christ s death 
seven deacons were chosen. This is a Therapeut title, and a 
Therapeut office. " Sisters " also have their holy functions, 3 
a Therapeut custom, but one that went completely counter to 
the genius of the Lower Judaism. 4 Renan, an impartial judge, 
says that the Protestants in modernizing nuns, beguines, brides 
of heaven, cenobites, socialism, fail to appreciate the very 
earliest institutions of Christianity. 5 

And as we read his glowing pages describing these days, 
we are a little surprised that English bishops should seriously 
state that the aovc^Tr/?, or mystic, was unknown in them. Far 
from being anti-mystical, the little church at Jerusalem has 
inspired and parented all the highest mysticism that the West 
has since known. " All the secrets of the great knowledge of 
the interior life, the most glorious creation of Christendom, were 
there in germ." 6 St. Basil, St. Arsenius, St. John the Mystic 
were then rendered possible. Quakers, Irvingites, Shakers, 
Mormons, and " Spiritists " have looked back upon and been 
developed by that one church. 7 All were possessed of the 
spirit, and exhibited all the phenomena of illuminism. All 
had the baptism of the spirit, the baptism of fire, which took 
the outside evidence of tongues of flame. 8 The risen Saviour 
constantly appeared in person, as He has since appeared in 

1 Renan, " Les Apotres," pp. 81, 82. He cites I Cor. x. 16; Justin, 
" Apol.," i. 65-67 ; Acts xx. 7-11 ; Pliny, " Epist," x. 97 ; Justin, " Apol," 
i. 67. 

2 Renan, "Les Apotres," pp. 116, 117. 3 Rom. xvi. i; i Cor. ix. 5. 
4 Renan, " Les Apotres," p. 122. 5 Ibid., pp. 123, 125. 

6 Ibid., p. 73. 7 Ibid., p. 62. 8 Ibid., p. 59. 


times of spiritual fervour to other visionaries. " In an island 
near Rotterdam," says the French scholar, " which has a 
population of austere Calvinists, the peasants believe that 
Christ comes to the bed of death to assure the elect of their 
justification. Many see Him in point of fact." 1 The visions 
of the Church of Jerusalem were produced like all other 
visions, by a " life of fasting and austerity." 2 For this they 
had the example of their Divine Master, who went through a 
similar preparation, and " who more than once presented in 
His person the ordinary phenomena of extasia." 3 

The Church of Jerusalem, the Church of the Nazarenes, 
as it was called, started with a high priest of Christendom. 

Eusebius, on the authority of Hegisippus, informs us that 
James, the brother of Christ, was appointed high priest there 
after His death. Epiphanius confirms this, and states that as 
high priest he went once a year into the holy of holies. 4 

I will write down the passage from Hegisippus about 

" He was consecrated from his mother s womb. He drank 
neither wine nor strong drink, neither ate he any living thing. 
A razor never went upon his head. He anointed not him 
self with oil, nor did he use a bath. He alone was allowed 
to enter into the holies. For he did not wear woollen gar 
ments, but linen. And he alone entered the sanctuary and 
was found upon his knees praying for the forgiveness of the 
people, so that his knees became hard like a camel s through 
his constant bending and supplication before God, and asking 
for forgiveness for the people." 5 

This passage is rejected as unhistorical by Bishop Light- 
foot, not on the grounds that the writer is reputed untrust 
worthy, but on account of the ascetic character assigned to 
St. James. But the early fathers believed in Hegisippus. 
Epiphanius, in commending the passage, adds the sons of 
Zebedee to the list of ascetics. 

1 Renan, " Les Apotres," p. 22. 

2 Ibid., p. 72 ; see also St. Luke ii. 37 ; 2 Cor. vi. 5 ; xi. 27. 

3 Ibid., p. 70 ; citing St. Mark iii. 2i, et seq.; St. John x. 20, et seq . ; 
xii. 27, et seq. 

4 " Hcer.," Ixviii. 13. 5 Eusebius, " Hist. Eccl.," ii. 23. 


" For John and James together with our own James 
embraced that same plan of life. The two first of these were 
the sons of Zebedee ; and the last, being the son of Joseph, 
was called the Lord s brother because with Him [the Lord] 
was he [James] nurtured and brought up, and by Him [the 
Lord] was he [James] always held as a brother, on account, of 
course, of Joseph s well-known connection with Mary, who 
was married to him. Moreover, to this latter James only was 
that honour assigned : once yearly to enter the holy of holies, 
because he was both a Nazarene and related by descent to 
the priesthood." l 

The father adds that James ate no animal food, and also 
wore the bactreum or metal plate of the high priest. Let 
us see also what Clement of Alexandria says of St. Matthew 

" It is far better to be happy than to have a demon 
dwelling with us. And happiness is found in the practice 
of virtue. Accordingly, the Apostle Matthew partook of 
seeds, and nuts, and vegetables without flesh." 2 

This picture given of himself by St. Peter in the Clemen 
tine " Homilies " is equally Essenic 

" However such a choice has occurred to you, perhaps 
without your understanding or knowing my manner of life, 
that I use only bread and olives and rarely pot-herbs ; and 
this is my only coat and cloak which I wear." a 

Here is another passage 

" The Prophet of the Truth, who appeared on earth, taught 
us that the Maker and God of all gave two kingdoms to two 
[beings], good and evil, granting to the evil the sovereignty 
over the present world. . . . Those men who choose the 
present have power to be rich, to revel in luxury, to indulge 
in pleasures, and to do whatever they can. For they will 
possess none of the future goods. But those who have de 
termined to accept the blessings of the future reign have no 
right to regard as their own the things that are here, since 
they belong to a foreign king, with the exception only of 
water and bread and those things procured with sweat to 

1 Epiphanius, " Haer.," Ixxviii. 13, 14. 2 " Pasdag.," ii. I. 

3 Clem., " Horn.," xii. 6. 


maintain life (for it is not lawful to commit suicide) ; and also 
only one garment, for they are not permitted to go naked, on 
account of the all-seeing Heaven." * 

The popular theory of the day is that Christ and His 
earliest disciples were orthodox Jews who proposed to fulfil 
every jot and tittle of the law as interpreted by the dominant 
party. Baur is the leading exponent of this theory. He 
holds that Christianity, which is the direct opposite of Mosaism, 
came from St. Paul. 

But in judging ancient creeds there is an infallible test 
rites. What were the rites of the early Church of Jerusalem ? 

Plainly those of the Essenes. They had baptism and the 
bloodless oblation. James, the first high priest, abstained 
from meat and wine. He was consecrated from his mother s 
womb, that is, he and the other members of his Church were 
called Nazarenes, because they were Nazarenes. "We are 
they of whom it is written, Her Nazarites were whiter than 
snow ! " says Tertullian. 2 St. James was plainly bound by 
a vow to abstain from wine for life. He shunned the use 
of oil. This, as I shall show, meets Bishop Lightfoot s 
argument that the Christians could not have been Essenes 
because they used oil. Renan cites many passages to show 
that tribute was sent to the high priest of Christendom from 
distant churches. 3 

If we could bring these questions, some will say, from the 
misty realms of polemics into the region of exact historical 
knowledge, how happy we should be. It so happens that we 
can bring this question into the region of exact historical 
knowledge. A most valuable document has survived. It is 
a statement of the case of the Ebionites, or the disciples of 
the Church of Jerusalem, against St. Paul. This document is 
known as the Clementine " Homilies." 

In it St. Peter and St. Paul appear and argue out the 
various points of Christian teaching. St. Paul is Simon 
Magus, and the main points against him are that he " rejects 

1 Clem., " Horn.," xv. 7. 2 Ver Marcion," iv. c. 8. 

" Les Apotres," p. 78 ; Acts xi. 29, 30 ; xxiv. 17 ; Gal. ii. 10 ; Rom. 
xv. 26, et seg. 


Jerusalem," 1 and believes in his own "visions." 2 He is also 
accused of announcing that he is Christ in person. 3 That he 
never was the Prophet of the Gentiles is held as proved from 
the text Matt, xxviii. 19. 

But more crucial questions arise. In this work are bloody 
sacrifices forbidden or enjoined ? Is mystic communion with 
the next world a crime punishable with death or the first 
duty of man ? Is the shewbread of the temple to remain 
the food of the priests exclusively, or is it to be given to 
every citizen of the New Jerusalem ? One glance at such 
a work will settle such questions for ever. 

That glance shows us that the author of the Clementine 
" Homilies " is a disciple of mystical Israel, detesting the 
ruling of the Sadducees and the anti-mystical expositors. 
Against the sacrifice of blood he is especially moved. The 
rites of the Ebionites also are the rites of the Buddhists, 
Essenes, and the Christians, as we know them. 

In the arguments that are carried on between Simon 
Magus and Simon Peter, the latter boldly cites the passage 
about the "jot or tittle." He gives it, in fact, in a form 
slightly varying from St. Matthew s Gospel, which seems to 
point to the fact that he is citing the lost Gospel of the 
Hebrews, which is known to have been the Gospel of the 
Ebionites. The passage runs thus : " The heaven and earth 
shall pass away, but not one jot or tittle shall pass from the 
Law." 4 This fact is important, as it shows that the passage 
upon which such a large superstructure has been erected was 
intended to bear nothing of the sort. It was framed to 
condemn the Mosaism of the bloody sacrifice, and not to 
announce that it was the ultimate revelation of God to man. 
St. Paul is strongly condemned in the argument for neglect 
ing the Hebrew scriptures ; but canons of interpretation are 
laid down which practically annul them. It is announced 
that the Law was given by Moses orally to the seventy wise 
men, and that in writing it down " many chapters " have been 

1 "Horn.," ii. cap. 22. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid., xvii. 7. 

4 Ibid., iii. cap. li. 


The Gospel is cited to show that the legitimate ex 
positors, the Sadducees, have erred, "not knowing the true 
things of the scriptures." Here again we seem to have a 
citation from the Gospel of the Hebrews. 1 Another saying 
of Christ is recorded, " Be ye prudent moneychangers " (in 
the matter of scripture interpretation). The canon laid dow n 
in the Clementine " Homilies " is that the only test of a true 
scripture is whether or not it coincides with the teaching of 
Christ. This, of course, practically supersedes the Old Testa 
ment with the new one. 

The way in which the bloody sacrifice is explained away 
gives us a good idea of the Essene allegorizing. St. Peter 
argues thus against St. Paul 

" But that He is not pleased with sacrifices is shown by 
this, that those who lusted after flesh were slain as soon as 
they tasted it, and were consigned to a tomb, so that it was 
called the grave of lusts. He then, who at the feast was dis 
pleased with the slaughtering of animals, not wishing them to 
be slain, did not ordain sacrifices as desiring them, nor from 
the beginning did he require them. For neither are sacrifices 
accomplished without the slaughter of animals, nor can the 
firstfruits be presented. But how is it possible for Him to 
abide in darkness, and smoke, and storm (for this also is 
written), Who created a pure heaven, and created the sun to 
give light to all." 

The first Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, an epistle 
read in the primitive church, confirms the account of the 
status of the Christian high priest of Jerusalem 

"Seeing then these things are manifest to us, it will 
behove us to take care that, looking into the depths of the 
divine gnosis, we do all things in order whatsoever our Lord 
has commanded us to do. And particularly that we perform 
our offerings and service to God at their appointed seasons, 
for these He has commanded to be done, not rashly and 
disorderly, but at certain determinate times and hours. And 
therefore He has ordained by His supreme will and authority 
both when and by what persons they are to be performed, 
1 Comp. Matt. xxii. 29. 


that so all things being piously done unto all well pleasing, 
they may be acceptable unto Him. They therefore who 
make their offerings at the appointed seasons are happy and 
accepted because, that obeying the commandments of the 
Lord, they are free from sin. And the same care must be had 
of the persons that minister unto him. For the chief priest 
has his proper services, and to the priests their proper place 
is appointed. And to the Levites appertain their proper 
ministries. And the layman is confined within the bounds of 
what is commanded to laymen. Let every one of you brethren 
bless God in his proper station with a good conscience and 
with all gravity, not exceeding the rule of his service that is 
appointed to him. The daily sacrifices are not offered every 
where, nor the peace-offerings, nor the sacrifices appointed for 
sins and transgressions, but only at Jerusalem. Nor in any 
place there but only at the altar before the temple ; that 
which is offered being first diligently examined by the high 
priest and the other minister we before mentioned " (ch. xviii. 
ver. 13, et seq). 

Now it is impossible to confuse this Christian " high 
priest " and the Jewish one. It is stated distinctly that the 
first has been established by God through Christ (xix. 7). It 
is also stated that Christ has laid down what " offerings and 
service " must be performed (xviii. 14). Indeed, St. Clement, 
misquoting Isaiah (Ix. 17), finds a passage promising Christian 
bishops in the works of that early prophet (i Clement xix. 6). 

There is a passage in the Gospel of the Hebrews that 
throws additional light on the head of the Christian Church at 
Jerusalem. The author of the later portion of the Acts and 
Luke s Gospel is an author who, in the view of modern 
scholarship, is not very trustworthy. He writes with a pur 
pose, which is to throw a veil over the sharp controversies of 
St. Peter and St. Paul, which are very patent in other parts 
of the New Testament. His motive also is, I think, to give 
an undue prominence to those apostles, and to the Roman 
Church which they are said to have founded. He gives Peter 
what Renan calls a " certain precedence," 1 though we see 
" Les Apotres," p. 98. 


from St. Paul s Epistle to the Galatians, that when James the 
high priest sent a messenger forbidding Peter to eat meat 
with the Gentiles, he felt bound to obey. 1 I think it is quite 
certain that if we had the earliest gospel, the Gospel of the 
Hebrews, we should see the status of St. James represented 
in a far different light. It was written in Hebrew, the lan 
guage of the disciples at Jerusalem, and was used by the 
Nazarites and Ebionites when, after the destruction of the 
temple, they took refuge in Palla, beyond Jordan. 

Fortunately a very important passage from this Gospel 
has been rescued to us by St. Jerome, in his work, " De Viris 
Illustribus." In it we see that the first apostle that Christ 
appeared to was St. James, and that as early as the night of 
the crucifixion. That this circumstance should be mentioned 
in the earliest gospel and suppressed in the later ones, enables 
us to appreciate more justly such passages as that of Matthew, 
where Christ announces that Peter is the rock on which the 
Church is founded. 

" The Lord, after giving His shroud to the servant of the 
priest, went forth and appeared unto James. Now James, 
since he had drunk in the cup of the Saviour, had made oath 
not to eat bread until he had seen Him risen from the dead. 
The Lord then said, Bring me a table and some bread ! 
And when He had received that which He commanded, He 
took the bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to 
James saying, My brother, eat this bread, because the Son of 
Man is risen from the dead. " 

" Maranatha ! " " The Lord is risen ! " This was the 
great catchword of the early Christians, and this passage 
looks very like the first institution of the communion service. 
At any rate the account of the last supper in the Gospel of 
the Hebrews was manifestly quite different from the accounts 
given in our present gospels. There we see nothing about 
James drinking out of Christ s cup, a fact which proves that 
the contents of the cup must have been water, for St. James 
was bound by the vow of the Nazarite to drink water for life. 
" The Ebionites," says Robertson, " abstained from flesh, and 

1 Gal. ii. 12, 13. 


from wine even in the sacrament." l As the Gospel of the 
Hebrews or Nazarites was the gospel used by them, it is 
difficult to see how the passage about the " fruit of the vine " 
could have been in it when they used it. 

This brings us to the "temple" where St. James minis 
tered as high priest. It is plain that it would have been 
quite impossible for him to have entered the holy of holies 
of the regular temple, if only for the obstacle of the temple 
guards. This gives a significance to the passages in Reve 
lations, describing the temple of the mystic Jerusalem, which 
of course would be modelled on the temple familiar to the 
white-robed saints of the material New Jerusalem, the " angel " 
taking the " golden censer," and " filling it with the fire of the 
altar," the " lamps," the " candlesticks," the " golden altar," the 
" incense." Dean Stanley pronounced that the catacombs 
were modelled on the sepulchral crypts of Palestine. 

Keim points out that the command given in chap. xi. 
ver. 2 to leave out the court of the bloody sacrifices in the 
ideal temple of the New Jerusalem, is an additional piece of 
evidence in favour of the Essenism of early Christianity ; and 
that ver. 15, chap. vii. points to Essene night-worship. 

Perhaps the rites of the Greek Church may help us here. 
At eight o clock in the morning, on the day after Good 
Friday, the Greeks at Jerusalem put out all lights, including 
those burning in the holy sepulchre. They then act like 
madmen, wrestle, kick each other, yell, howl, and roar with 
meaningless laughter, at least, they did one hundred years 
ago. Plainly, the general idea was that the Light of the 
World was in the tomb, and the demoniacal host rulers. It 
lets in some light on the orgies which the different sections 
of early Christianity accused each other of committing, the 
lights put out, etc. It shows also the meaning of the buffoon 
mass in the cathedrals during the Middle Ages, when students, 
attired in mitre and cope, holding the scriptures upside down, 
preached mock sermons, and turned every detail of the 
Christian ritual into wild tomfoolery. 2 At three o clock in 

1 " History of the Christian Church," vol. i. p. 33. 

2 Hone, "Ancient Mysteries," p. 159. 


the afternoon, the Patriarch of Jerusalem comes with a large 
procession, and marches three times round the holy sepul 
chre. He then enters it (the solitary time during the year), 
taking with him a bundle of tapers. All these ceremonies 
are based on the legend that fire from heaven descends 
miraculously to the holy sepulchre the day after Good 
Friday. Out comes the patriarch with his bundle of tapers 
all lit, and the mob scramble for them, and wrestle to light 
their own tapers, and blow out those of their neighbours. 1 
After this, all call out, " Christ is risen ! " In every Greek 
church at this time they give the kiss of peace ; and the 
consecrated bread (pain benit), the truest relic of the Essenic 
love-feast, is distributed. The sacrament taken at this time 
is considered, beyond measure, more efficacious than at any 
other. Indeed, many pious people communicate only at this 

Whether in this little picture of the head of the church 
at Jerusalem, going alone and once a year into the holy 
place, we get any key to the similar action on the part of 
St. James, I cannot tell. The sepulchre of the Founder of 
Christianity would probably be an object of paramount 
veneration from an early date. 

As a centre for great pilgrimages, holy offerings, mira 
culous cures, etc., the sepulchral mound of a great saint in 
Buddhism had already acquired the highest importance. In 
the earliest catacombs, we see that the sepulchres of Christian 
saints were similarly utilized. Pilgrimages were of great 
importance in the early religions. They supported the priest 
hood. Also they were a form of initiation into the mysteries, 
Eleusis being simply an Indian feast. The pilgrim, as in 
Buddhism, trod the footsteps of some great teacher, visited 
the Bo Tree, the Deer Park, and the many caves and rocks 
where Buddha sate during his spiritual progress. In Christen 
dom, the pilgrimage was once a very serious thing. The 
Armenians prepare for one for seven years, fasting forty days 
in each year. The early pilgrim, like the modern Greek, 
splashed no doubt in the Jordan, visited Christ s cell in the 
1 Picart s " CdnSmonies, etc.," iii. p. 143. 


Quarantania Monastery. Perhaps, also, he kissed the holy 
stone near Bethlehem, which is still white with the milk of 
the Virgin, carried away specimens of the rose of Jericho, so 
useful in childbirth and peril from lightning, measured out 
his future shroud on Christ s sepulchre, and had the record 
of his pilgrimage tattoed on his body. 1 Rome, with its feet- 
washing, step climbing, and its " stations of the cross," gives 
us probably other reminiscences. To this day the Jordan 
cures all diseases, mental and bodily. Without doubt, the 
holy city was the focus of all early pilgrimages. 

But it may be said that this high priest of the Christian 
Hebrews dwelling in Jerusalem, with his sacrifices, his Levites, 
and his holy of holies, is purely a Hebrew, and not a Buddhist 
derivation. On the surface this is so. But if we look below 
the surface, it is impossible to conceive two more dissimilar 
entities than Caiaphas and St. James. They differ as much 
as the Messiah, as conceived by the Pharisees, and the 
Messiah, as conceived by the humble Nazarites. The one 
is supreme in the realm of matter, the other is supreme in 
the realm of spirit. 

St. Denys the Areopagite, whatever his date, throws con 
siderable light on this point. The higher mystics have 
always held that there are two worlds, the one of matter, 
and the other of spirit ; and that the spiritual world, 
instead of being far away, is here. The one world is a 
dead world, the other a living world ; for all the life in this 
our seen world is borrowed from the world of spirit. They 
held that the Kosmos is single, not dual, and that the army 
of thrones, dominations, cherubs, and seraphs mingles with 
and interlaces with the higher souls of the human hierarchy, 
the object of all being one, namely, to get nearer and nearer, 
and every hour more in harmony with the Great High Priest 
of the sky. He sketches the point of contact thus- 
Human Order. Celestial Initiators. 

High Priest Perfector. 

Priests ... ... ... ... Illuminator. 

Levites Purifier. 

1 Picart, vol. iii. pp. 145, 221. 


It will be seen by this that the priests, at the date of 
St. Denys, were an army of initiated mystics, and that he 
never could have sanctioned the absurdity of a hierarchy of 
non-initiated officials, such as the pope and Church of Rome 
by-and-by became. The vital flaw of that religion is not 
so much that it discountenances mysticism, as that it gives 
to a mystic an instructor not himself a mystic, as the court 
preacher Bossuet was given to Madame Guyon. Such a pro 
ceeding has also killed the spiritual life of modern Buddhism. 
The Abbe Hue and Colonel Olcott, tell us that the cultiva 
tion of mysticism has passed away. 




DR. LlGHTFOOT, in his work, " Epistles to the Galatians," has 
given a vivid picture of the Church of Jerusalem. He admits 
that they were Essenes and Ebionites, water-drinking ascetics, 
who rejected flesh meat. 1 They were pure Gnostics 2 like the 
other Essenes. This seems at first sight the very proposition 
that I am seeking to establish. If the earliest Christian church 
were Essenes, it affords a strong presumption that Essenism 
and Christianity were connected together. 

But Dr. Lightfoot will not allow this. The Church of 
Jerusalem were "heretics." At some time between Christ s 
death and the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians, 3 a 
sort of pre-historic Anglicanism ruled in Jerusalem, without 
monks, nuns, monasteries, mysticism. The views of these 
believers in the matter of the Trinity approached "the 
Catholic standard ; " whereas the Essene Ebionites regarded 
Christ as a prophet. Christ, this seems a necessary inference, 
though baptized an Essene, effected a root-and-branch revolu 
tion, and carried His followers into the camp of anti-mystical 
Israel. And then the Ebionite heretics retraced this long and 
difficult pathway step by step. This, of course, involves two 
root-and-branch revolutions, and that in a very small space 
of time ; the first to establish this opposing creed, and the 
second to overthrow it. 

As Bishop Lightfoot is the leading advocate of the pro 
position that between Essenism and Christianity there was no 

1 Page 313. 2 Epistle to the Colossians," p. 98. 

3 Lightfoot, " Epistle to the Galatians," p. 313. 



connection whatever, and that the two religions are pure 
antagonisms, we will now consider his arguments at some 
length. In his " Commentary on the Colossians," he draws 
up the following points of what he considers radical difference 
between Essenism and the teaching of Christ : 

1. The Essenes refused to take part in the ritual of the 
bloody altar at the temple of Jerusalem, at the risk of being 
stoned. Christ and his disciples went up to all the feasts 
and attended the bloody sacrifices. 

2. Essenism is based upon asceticism which " postulates 
the false principle of the malignity of matter." The Son of 
man "came eating and drinking, and was denounced in con 
sequence as a glutton and wine-bibber." 1 

3. The Essenes were extra strict Sabbatolaters. Christ 
strongly condemned the superstitious respect for the Sabbath. 

4. The Essenes added constant lustrations to the law of 
Moses. Christ strongly condemned these. 

5. The Essenes went beyond the most bigoted Jews in 
their avoidance of strangers. Christianity threw open Judaism 
to the Gentiles. 

6. The Essenes considered oil a defilement, and Christ 
was anointed with oil by the Magdalene. 

7. The Essenes denied the resurrection of the body. 

8. The Essenes were not prophets but fortune-tellers. 

I think we are all indebted to Bishop Lightfoot for his 
industry and acumen. He has collected a number of passages 
of scripture which convey, and I think purposely convey, the 
idea that Christ and his companions were not Essenes. I for 
one have to thank the bishop for helping me in a difficult 
research. It is remarkable that almost all these passages 
occur in one gospel, the Gospel of St. Luke. 

A second curious fact emerges. The Gospel of St. Luke 
is generally thought to be more tinged with pure Essenism 
than any other gospel. 

In St. Matthew, Christ says, " Blessed are they that hunger 
and thirst after righteousness ; " in St. Luke, He says, " Blessed 
are ye that hunger now." 

1 "Epistle to the Colossians," p. 170, etc. 


Then in St. Matthew, Christ is made again to say, " Blessed 
are the poor in spirit ; " but in St. Luke, He says, " Blessed be 
ye poor." This is plainly a more correct version of His words, 
for they were followed by " Woe unto you that are rich." 

They are further illustrated by the thoroughly Essene 
parable of Dives, who is not described as a wicked man at all, 
only a rich man, and by the story of the ruler 

" And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Master, what 
shall I do to inherit eternal life ? And Jesus said unto him, 
Why callest thou Me good ? none is good, save One, that is, 
God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit 
adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, 
Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these 
have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these 
things, He said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing : sell all 
that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt 
have treasure in heaven : and come, follow Me. And when 
he heard this, he was very sorrowful : for he was very rich. 
And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, He said, 
How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom 
of God ! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle s 
eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 1 

This is the pure Essene doctrine that no admission is 
possible to the roll of Christ s followers without the poverty 
and communism of the Essenes, and all through the gospel 
the teaching of Christ and of the Nazarite John is set forth 
as identical, and it is expressly announced that this teaching 
has superseded the Law and the prophets. All this being the 
case, how is it that we suddenly find, side by side with this 
teaching, another set of texts which, in the view of one of the 
most acute and honest writers of the church, set forth the 
doctrine that Christ cancelled the teaching of John ; that 
having joined mystical Israel by accepting its baptism, that 
having taken part in the Essene fastings and communings 
with what Philo calls the Divine Essene, having denounced 
anti-mystical Israel for keeping the key of the gnosis unused, 
and having trained a large following to accept beggary, con 
tumely, hate, and martyrdom, in a sublime crusade against 


anti-mystical Israel, how is it that the Great Captain should 
have suddenly marched off into the enemy s camp, allowing 
the key of the mystical gnosis once more to rust unused in 
the hands of Annas the high priest, and binding again on the 
shoulders of his emancipated followers the ceremonial that 
was so grievous to be borne ? 

Surely we have here two distinct gospels, due certainly to 
two distinct writers, and most probably to two distinct periods 
of Christendom. 

The question then that arises is : Which is the early gospel, 
and which is the one that has been superadded ? To help us 
to answer this question we have valuable historical data at 
our disposal. 

1. The testimony of the other gospels. 

2. The other writings of St. Luke. 

3. The early rites and customs of the Christians. This 
last is the most valuable testimony of all, for ritual is far less 
easily altered than scriptures. 

I propose to discuss this question at some little length, for 
the views of Bishop Lightfoot are very widely spread. 

The early chapters of St. Luke s Gospel seem at first sight 
to bear out the bishop s thesis. The parents of Jesus go up 
every year (from A.D. I to A.D. 12) to the Feast of the Pass 
over, and we see incidentally (chap. ii. 24) that they belonged 
to that section of Israel which adhered to the bloody sacrifice, 
as distinguished from the bloodless sacrifice, for they sacrificed 
doves in the temple. Mary, the mother, is brought into close 
contact with Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, and 
Zacharias is said to be a "priest" who ministered in the 
" temple of the Lord " (chap. i. 9). 

But a few moments of careful scrutiny show us that even 
in these chapters two distinct hands have been at work. 
Zacharias could not possibly have been of that section of 
Israel which piously exclaimed three times every day, " O 
God, send thy curse upon the Nazarenes." For when he hears 
that his son is about to become one of these hated Nazarenes, 
separated even from his mother s womb (Luke i. 15), and 
that he is to preach the Essene doctrine of " salvation by the 


remission of sins " (Luke i. 77), the good priest, instead of 
cursing, is filled with joy. Plainly the words "priest" and 
" temple " did not mean the priest and the temple of dominant 
Israel, for Zacharias further alludes to that section as, " those 
that hate us," our " enemies," they " that sit in darkness and 
in the shadow of death " (Luke i. 79), which he could scarcely 
have done had he belonged to their body. In the Revised 
Version, the word "temple" has given way to "sanctuary." 
Of Zacharias more hereafter. 

There remains, then, the solitary historical statement that 
the parents of Christ (from A.D. i to A.D. 12), went up every 
year to Jerusalem to the Feast of the Passover, and took part 
in the bloody sacrifices there offered up. This statement is 
contradicted in toto by Matthew s Gospel. That distinctly 
announces that when the Child Christ was a baby its parents 
carried it to Egypt to save its life from Herod ; that they 
remained there until that monarch s death ; and that on their 
return they avoided Judaea altogether, for fear of Archelaus, 
Herod s successor. 

Let us now consider the only other passage on which 
Bishop Lightfoot can have based his somewhat sweeping 
statement, that Christ and his disciples went regularly to 
Jerusalem each year for the three great festivals, and cele 
brated them according to the edicts of Moses with bloody 
rites. In Luke xxii. we read 

" Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the pass- 
over must be killed. And He [Jesus] sent Peter and John, 
saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat" 

It is further stated that these disciples accosted a man, 
who took them into a house within the walls of Jerusalem, 
and "they made ready the passover," thus plainly, and I 
think intentionally, inferring that this "passover" was a 
slaughtered lamb. To all who have not studied Jewish ritual, 
this is a strong statement. But in point of fact, if the descrip 
tion of the passover in Luke is historical, Christ and His 
disciples infringed the Jewish ritual in almost every particular. 
Before I go into this question, however, I wish to draw atten 
tion to the individual that St. Luke calls the " good man of the 


house." Supposing for a moment that Christ and His disciples 
were members of non-mystical Israel, it is perfectly plain that 
this house-owner was not. He has a guest-chamber in his 
house, like the other Essenes, and on receiving the pass-word 
from the " Master," is ready to risk his life and harbour the 
brethren. It would make very little difference to the inquisi 
tors of the dominant party whether a lamb was killed in his 
house, or the Bloodless Oblation was offered up. Rites 
instituted for the profit of the dominant priesthood should 
have been performed in the great temple. And it is the 
neglect of these rites that would have constituted the capital 
offence, not their falsification. 

For the sixteenth chapter of Deuteronomy explicitly lays 
down that the Paschal lamb must be killed " at the place 
which the Lord thy God shall choose to place His name in." 
Like all other bloody sacrifices, it must be slaughtered in the 
temple, and the priest must receive the shoulder, the two 
cheeks, and the maw (Deut. xviii. 3). " Thou mayst not 
sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates " (Deut. xvi. 5). 
The edict is very distinct. " The assembly of the congregation 
of Israel shall kill it in the evening " (Ex. xii. 6). The 
slaughtering must be done in public by the recognized 
slaughterers. Also the lintels of the door-post must be 
smeared with the blood, and the worshippers must eat the 
flesh with their loins girded, with shoes on their feet, and with 
a staff in their hands, they remaining all day within doors. 
None of these injunctions were complied with on this occasion. 
It was impossible that Christ s disciples could have complied 
with some of them, for they were forbidden shoes and staves. 
But a valuable test is in our possession, for this last supper 
was made the model of the daily sacrifice in the early 
Christian Church. Was this sacrifice bloody or bloodless? 
From the earliest days, according to St. Luke himself 
(Acts ii. 42), it consisted not of a lamb but of bread. In the 
earliest rituals it is called the " Bloodless Oblation." 

But perhaps the bishop may have in his eye a chapter in 
the Fourth Gospel. Let us consider two separate accounts 
of the feasts, as observed by Christ s disciples in that Gospel. 


"After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, 
which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed 
Him, because they saw His miracles which He did on them 
that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, 
and there He sat with His disciples. And the passover, a 
feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up His 
eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith 
unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat ? 
And this He said to prove him : for He Himself knew what 
He would do. Philip answered Him, Two hundred penny 
worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of 
them may take a little. One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon 
Peter s brother, saith unto Him, There is a lad here, which 
hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes : but what are 
they among so many ? And Jesus said, Make the men sit 
down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men 
sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took 
the loaves ; and when He had given thanks, He distributed 
to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down ; 
and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When 
they were filled, He said unto His disciples, Gather up the 
fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they 
gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the 
fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and 
above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when 
they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of 
a truth that prophet that should come into the world" 
(John vi. 1-14). 

Let us now consider the seventh chapter of John s Gospel 
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would 
not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. 
Now the Jews feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren 
therefore said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, 
that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest. 
For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he 
himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, 
shew Thyself to the world. For neither did His brethren 
believe in Him. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not 


yet come : but your time is alway ready. The world cannot 
hate you ; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the 
works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast : I go not up 
yet unto this feast ; for My time is not yet full come. When 
He had said these words unto them, He abode still in Galilee. 
But when His brethren were gone up, then went He also up 
unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret." 

In the Synoptics, between the date of Christ s disputation 
with the doctors and His great entry into Jerusalem, there is 
no mention of His going to Jerusalem. This has induced 
critics to view with suspicion the many visits to Jerusalem of 
the Fourth Gospel. In any case, if we piece the two accounts 
together, it is evident that they tell against the bishop s 
theory. The passover was plainly celebrated with Essene 
rites far away from Jerusalem. This creates a strong pre 
sumption that the " feast " that the disciples went up to was 
of the modest pattern described in the early Church of 
Jerusalem, an Essene breaking of bread in some secluded 
house, but this is unimportant. Supposing the narrative to 
be historical, the great question is, Did Christ go up as a 
partisan of the bloody altar, or as an apostle of the bloodless 
altar? Did He content Himself with contributing a shoulder, 
two cheeks, and a maw of a slaughtered beast to enrich and 
support the priesthood, or did He attempt to subvert that 
body ? But one answer is possible. It is announced that the 
chief priests sought to kill Him, and sent officers to take Him. 
It is also recorded that in the midst of the feast He stood up 
in the temple and told the most strict and superstitious 
observers of a written scripture that the world has ever seen, 
" None of you keepeth the Law." 

From their lips we get an instructive commentary. They 
said of His followers 

"This/tf// who knoweth not the Law are cursed." 
This shows that the legitimate interpreters of the Law of 
Moses were well aware that they were dealing, not with a 
man, but a multitude ; whose interpretation of the Law of 
Jehovah was so subversive in their view, that it merited His 
malediction. Much accentuated, we here get again the 


eternal malentendu between mystical and anti-mystical Israel 
on the meaning of the word " law." 

If the narrative of the chief priests being compelled to 
bribe Judas before they could take Christ is correct, it is 
difficult to see how the account contained in this chapter can 
be historical. Certainly the answer of the bloodthirsty 
myrmidons sent to seize Him in the temple seems an im 
possible one, " Never man spake like this man ! " 

Had they given this excuse for neglecting their chance of 
seizing Him, they would have been executed. 

From the didactic point of view, the meaning of the two 
narratives is more obvious. 

" For the bread of God is He which cometh down from 
heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto 
Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said 
unto them, I am the Bread of Life, he that cometh to Me shall 
never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." 

These are the words of Christ regarding the first feast. 

" In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood 
and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, 
and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath 
said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." 

This is the pith of the second ; and the two together are 
a sanctification of the " bread of God " and " living water " of 
the Essene mysteries. 

We now come to the two texts most relied on by those 
who hold, with Bishop Lightfoot, that mysticism and 
asceticism are " inconsistent with the teaching of the gospel." 1 
On these a vast superstructure has been raised from the date 
of Irenaeus and Pope Victor to modern times. Let us read 
each with its context. 

"And when the messengers of John were departed, He 
began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went 
ye out into the wilderness for to see ? A reed shaken with 
the wind ? But what went yet out for to see ? A man 
clothed in soft raiment ? Behold, they which are gorgeously 
apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings courts. But what 
1 "Epistle to the Colossians," p. 173. 


went ye out for to see ? A prophet ? Yea, I say unto you, 
and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is 
written, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which 
shall prepare Thy way before Thee. For I say unto you, 
Among those that are born of women there is not a greater 
prophet than John the Baptist, but he that is least in the 
kingdom of God is greater than he. And all the people 
that heard Him, and the publicans, justified God, being 
baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and 
lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, 
being not baptized of him. And the Lord said, W hereunto 
then shall I liken the men of this generation ? and to what 
are they like ? They are like unto children sitting in the 
marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have 
piped unto you, and ye have not danced ; we have mourned to 
you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither 
eating bread nor drinking wine ; and ye say, He hath a devil. 
The Son of man is come eating and drinking ; and ye say, Be 
hold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans 
and sinners ! But wisdom is justified of all her children " (Luke 
vii. 24-35). 

It is a singular fact that this short passage has been made 
the chief armoury of the disciples of gastronomic, and also 
of interior Christianity. Thus Migne s " Dictionnaire des 
Ascetes" cites it to show that Christ approved of the asceticism 
of the Baptist. Does not this at starting seem to argue two 
teachings, and, as a corollary, two distinct teachers ? If we 
omit the passages that I have marked in italics it is difficult 
to find a more eloquent eulogy of ascetic mysticism. The 
Buddhist mystics are called the Sons of Wisdom (Dharma or 
Prajna) and Christ adopts the same terminology. Plainly the 
gist of the passage is that the children of the mystic Sophia 
have no rivalry and no separate baptism. The lower life of 
soft raiment and palaces is contrasted with John s ascetic 
life amongst the " reeds " that still conspicuously fringe the 
rushing Jordan. John is pronounced the greatest of prophets, 
and his teaching the " counsel of God." Then comes my first 
passage in italics, the statement that the most raw catechumen 


of Christ s instruction is superior to this the greatest of God s 
prophets. It completely disconnects what follows from what 
precedes, and involves the silliest inconsequence, as shown by 
the action of Christ s hearers. It is said that they crowded 
to the "baptism of John." Had that speech been uttered, of 
course they would have stayed away from it. 

The subsequent insertion of the gospel of eating and 
drinking and piping and dancing involves a greater folly. It 
betrays a writer completely ignorant of Jewish customs. The 
fierce enmity of anti-mystical Israel to the Nazarites pivoted 
on the very fact that the latter were pledged for life to drink 
neither wine nor strong drink. This was the Nazarite s 
banner, with victory already written upon it. Hence the 
fierce hatred of the Jewish priesthood. If Christ in their 
presence had drunk one cup of wine, there would have been 
no crucifixion, and certainly no upbraiding. 

This is the second passage that anti-mystical Christianity 
builds upon 

" And they said unto Him, Why do the disciples of John fast 
often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Phari 
sees ; but Thine eat and drink ? And He said unto them, Can ye 
make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom 
is with them ? But the days will come, when the bridegroom 
shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those 
days. And He spake also a parable unto them ; No man 
putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old ; if otherwise, 
then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was 
taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man 
putteth new wine into old bottles ; else the new wine will 
burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 
But new wine must be put into new bottles ; and both are 
preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway 
desireth new : for he saith, The old is better" (Luke v. 33-39). 

I have again resorted to italics. I think we have here a 
genuine speech of Christ, and a very important one. . His 
doctrine was " new wine " and it was quite unfit for the " old 
bottles " of Mosaism. The gravity of this speech was felt by 
the Roman monks who were trying to force the new wine 


into the old bottles (with much prejudice to the wine), so they 
tried to nullify it with flat contradiction let in both above 
and below. 

" For the old is better." 

This completely contradicts Christ s eulogy of the Chris 
tian s "new wine." Moreover, the words are not found in 
Matthew s version, which makes the cheat more palpable. 
There, too, we have the gospel of eating and drinking, a gospel 
that did not require an avatara of the Maker of the Heavens 
for its promulgation. 

But supposing that we concede the two passages to be 
genuine, I do not see that the priests of materialism will gain 
very much. 

These texts are internecine, involving contradictions due 
either to more than one author, or to an interpolator singu 
larly deficient in logical consistency and common sense. The 
statement, as far as it is intelligible, is that Christ, having 
determined to forsake mystical for anti-mystical Israel, made 
the following enactments : 

1. That the ascetic practices that He had taken over from 
John the Baptist and the Nazarenes, and which in other gos 
pels He enjoins under the phrase of "prayer and fasting" 
as the machinery for developing miraculous gifts, interior 
vision, etc., shall be discontinued by His disciples during 
His lifetime and then again renewed. 

2. That feastings and the use of wine, which as Nazarites 
He and His disciples had specially forsworn, should be again 
resumed, with no restrictions in this case in the matter of His 
death. So that by one enactment His disciples after His death 
were to remain jovial " wine-bibbers " by the other fasting 
ascetics. It is scarcely necessary to bring forward the true 
Luke to confute the pseudo Luke. 

A valuable historical transaction is recorded by the real 
Luke which throws a strong light on the relations between 
Christ and John the Baptist. Towards the close of the 
Saviour s career, at Jerusalem itself, the chief priests accosted 
Him and asked Him by what authority He did what He did. 
Now if the relations between Christ and John the Baptist had 


been what the pseudo Luke would have us believe, Christ had 
only to state all this and He might have saved many valuable 
lives. He had only to plainly announce that His movement 
was not from anti-mystical to mystical Israel, but from 
mystical to anti-mystical Israel ; that He had introduced 
wine and oil as a protest against Essenism ; that He had 
forbidden its ascetic fastings, and brought many disciples 
back from "the baptism of John" to the orthodox fold. 
If He had stated all this clearly, the high priest and elders 
would have hailed Him as a friend instead of slaying Him as a 
foe. But the Saviour, evidently quite unaware that He had 
led a great movement against the Baptist, takes refuge behind 
John instead of condemning him. He asks the pregnant 
question, Was he a prophet of God, or was he not ? infer 
ring, of course, that he was, and that the prophetic gift 
was "authority" enough (Luke xx. I, et seq.). "For I say 
unto you, Among those that are born of women there is 
not a greater prophet than John the Baptist " (Luke vii. 28). 
Here again we have the real Luke confronting his unskilful 

Point 2 has been dealt with all through this book. 
Asceticism was the Greek word for mysticism at the Saviour s 
date, and Dr. Lightfoot seems to include all mysticism in his 
attack. He talks of a " shadowy mysticism which loses 
itself in the contemplation of an unseen world," l as part of 
the " false teaching " of the Colossians ; also of the " monstrous 
developments" and "and "heresy" of Gnosticism. It is 
plain that he assails not the abuses of mysticism, but the thing 

This involves two distinct questions 

1. Was Christ a mystic, Gnostic, Nazarite one of the 
type that the writers of His day ranked under the generic 
name of ao-KW/e ? I have, I think, already shown that He 
was. At any rate, I will not say more on this point at 

2. If Christ was a mystic, does such a man make himself 
and his surroundings more or less happy than the proclaimer 

1 " Epistle to Colossians," p. 73. 


of the gospel of eating and drinking the materialist, in point 

of fact ? 

Let us first of all see if the materialist is so very happy. 
Recently his creed has had many eloquent exponents, especi 
ally in France. Two days ago I was reading some powerful 
essays by Paul Bourget, 1 a sympathetic materialist, notably 
one on Dumas Fils, the poet-laureate of the cultus. Materi 
alism, as I gather from these teachers, holds that there is 
no God, but Evolution, and that science is promptly sup 
pressing the creeds. The idea of any life after death is not 
only a dream, but a morbid dream. We must find all useful 
ness and all enjoyment in the present, and be true and 
honest ; but the ordinary ideas of morality are also visionary. 
Man is a tiny cog-wheel in a vast mechanism, and his acts 
depend chiefly on his surroundings, the sin of his father, the 
virtue of his grandmother. He may plunge into the modern 
popular pastime of money-making, but this means simple 
dishonesty, with its accompanying self-contempt. He may 
strive to be a poet, an artist, a statesman, careers in which 
originality means heart-breaking neglect, and a wave of 
unmerited popular favour, a back action that is still more 
trying. There is the squirrel-cage of fashion, a little weary 
ing, and the actual pleasures of the gospel of eating and 
drinking, marred a little in modern days by gout and 
dyspepsia. There remains the absorbing passion of man 
and woman, and it can be considered under three aspects 

1. Venal love, which ruins the greater number of votaries. 
Even its factitious blushes and blandishments never conceal 
the idea that it is strict barter. 

2. Adulterous love, which promptly means a vast con 
tempt on the part of the male, arid a bitter hate on the part 
of the female. It is perdition, with the smallest amount of 


3. There remains conjugal love, which, in the case of 
a few sparse " ideals," may mean happiness ; but the con 
ditions of modern life render such ideals almost impossible. 
Woman is educated to be not so much a wife as a gainer of 

1 " Psychologic Contemporaine : " Nouveaux Essais. 


husbands. Her training is perfect up to a certain point, the 
altar. Every detail of physique, dress, and deportment, has 
been studied. The result on the wedding morning is a 
shrinking ideal of charming girlhood, at least exteriorily. It 
is when the arts of the mother and the milliner, the governess 
and the barber, the tailor and the dressmaker, have been 
stripped off, that the pair see their real selves, and not their 
counterfeit presentments. The sixteenth century lady is 
confronted with the nineteenth century man, and he finds 
that all he believes to be truth she believes to be fiction ; and 
all he believes to be fiction, she believes to be absolute truth. 
The result is a duel, more terrific in its rancour and hate than 
any stand-up fight between man and man. It is a duel pro 
longed through bitter days and nights for many years, a duel 
that must end in death. 

This picture is too French, some will say. In England we 
are not all materialists ; and even the most materialist of our 
bishops promise us, from their pulpits, a paradise, when 
a trumpet shall summon us from our coffins. But, unfortu 
nately, in these days of exegesis, both preacher and flock 
know quite well that this trumpet was promised in the lifetime 
of the apostles, a fact that has brought it into some discredit. 
At any rate, on the Monday the preacher and his flock act as 
if the trumpet of Sunday were a very, very shadowy thing. 

Now, the Gnostic maintains that this dark picture is due 
not to the landscape, but the eye of the beholder. He holds 
that the material world, instead of being an abyss of hopeless 
pain, is the most perfect mechanism that could be conceived 
for the express purpose for which it was designed. That 
purpose is to open the spiritual eye, about which the most 
paradoxical misapprehensions are constantly being enunci 
ated in modern pulpits. This means not to plunge us into 
an abyss of gloomy pessimism, but to rescue us from it ; not 
the abdication, but the discovery of happiness and joy ; not 
to encourage monkish idleness and fanatic selfishness, but to 
train and husband the individual man s powers for the extreme 
of work. By work is here meant the only work that is of 
any value in the world spiritual work. The illuminati, 


instead of fattening in idle convents, have marked their 
passage through the world by many notable monuments, the 
ruins of overturned tyrannies and superstitions. Where is 
the iron Brahminism of early India ? Where is the policy 
and atheism of Caesar ? Where is the Inquisition, the Star 
Chamber, the Bastille ? Amongst the sheaf of fallacies about 
Buddha is the fancy that he passed his life watching his 
navel. As Bunsen puts it, "he renounced in despair the 
actual world which Christ sought to raise to godlike purity." 
These are words without meaning. In point of fact the 
labours of Christ and Buddha were identical. Each, without 
rest, travelled about teaching the spiritual life. 

" The Gnostic makes his whole life a festival," says 
Clement of Alexandria. . And a very intelligent modern 
Buddhist has written a little work, called " Christ and Buddha 
contrasted," which deserves to be studied here. He says that 
there is an Ego, which means spiritual ignorance and un- 
happiness, and a non-Ego, which means joy and God. With 
the intelligent Buddhist, heaven is a state resulting from 
domination of the Ego. The English expand their com 
merce by war and slaughter ; and deem money-making happi 
ness. Their heaven is as material as their life here, a sort of 
opera, with music, singing, and even eating and drinking. 
The good Buddhist seems to forget that the heaven of 
Amitabha is also sensuous ; but, at any rate, he reads a 
valuable lesson to our materialism. The secret of the 
unhappiness of poet and preacher, of the fine lady and the 
pious money-seeker is, I think, laid bare. Each strives to 
build up a world to suit his own blind and petty ego, instead 
of moulding the ego into harmony with God and his world. 

But here, perhaps, it may be urged that although material 
ism is making gigantic strides in the Church, still, in Protestant 
Christianity, there are many excellent ladies, and some men, 
who have attained a high spirituality, far higher, as thinkers 
like Professor Kellog argue, than the fanciful inner light of 
the " lost " Buddhist, or the " shadowy mysticism " of the 
heretic Ebionite. Such people go regularly to church, give 
much money in charity, attend to all the ordinances of their 


spiritual advisers, believe that they have " grace " and " faith." 
They are of the "elect" who have gained atonement through 
the blood of the Lamb. This systematic restriction of Chris 
tianity to the external religion, the religion by body corporate, 
shows what a tremendous gap there is in thought and feeling 
between the epoch of St. Paul and the epoch of Professor 

St. Paul, in his earlier life, was perhaps the most illustrious 
votary in the world of the religion of exteriors. Modern 
duchesses and serious bankers would stand aghast if they 
knew all that this involved, A.D. 20. Instead of languidly 
visiting God s house twice or three times a week, and adver 
tising his liberality in the pamphlets of a few charitable insti 
tutions, St. Paul, like all contemporary pious Jews, went to 
the temple three times a day. On awaking in the morning 
he exclaimed fervently, " Blessed be Thou, O Lord God, King 
of the World, for spreading out the dawn on the mountains ! " 
And he repeated similar ejaculations for every pleasant sensa 
tion, pleasant dish, pleasant drink, pleasant smell. No strict 
Jew ever terminated a day without the orthodox, " One 
hundred benedictions." On the right folding-door of his 
house was inserted a reed containing the passage in Deute 
ronomy that promised a land of milk and honey, abundant 
rain, and grass and fodder for cattle, the oil of fatness, and 
corn and wine, to those who obeyed the eternal edicts of 
Jehovah. In this passage was an injunction that these words 
should be written upon a Jew s house and his gates. He was 
commanded to lay up the words on his heart and his soul, 
and to bind them for a sign on his hands and on the frontlets 
between his eyes. All these commands St. Paul religiously 
complied with. Whether by compulsion, or of his own free 
will, he also was mulcted of many trespass offerings, burnt 
offerings, Sabbath offerings, tithes, and firstfruits to support 
the priests ; and like all Jews, ancient or modern, he gave 
away a considerable proportion of his wealth to the poor. 
Moreover, he looked for propitiation to the blood of a slain 

Also the fact must not for a moment be lost sight of that 



St. Paul at this stage of his existence was no hypocrite, no 
dull formalist. He has left on record ample proof that he 
was both zealous and sincere. If the religion of externals by 
which I mean the religion of rites, prayers, propitiation, as 
distinguished from the religion of interior development, could 
do anything, it never found a worthier subject than St. Paul. 
And yet, instead of being proud of what modern popular 
theology must consider the most healthy period of his life, 
he can scarcely find language strong enough to express his 
abhorrence of it. He talks of " beggarly elements " (Gal. iv. 
9), the "curse of the law" (Gal. iii. 13) of "bondage," of 
being " under a curse " (Gal. iii. 10). 

And all this time it is not his own shortcomings that he 
assails, but the shortcomings of the system. Cogs, and wheels 
and elaborate mechanism can make a good automaton whist- 
player, but not a man with a human soul. 

Modern Christians talk freely about " salvation " and 
" Christ s blood," about " grace," " the elect," and the " new 
birth." If one of these could be suddenly confronted with the 
shade of St. Paul, he would hear language that would astonish 
him. He would be told that he was using the terminology of 
the mysteries without the least idea or even the faculty to 
understand what they meant. He would be told that his 
ideas about " Christ " and " salvation " were purely material ; 
and that the spiritual estate of the real " Elect " compared 
with his own, could only be suggested to him by the symbols 
of nature that express extreme contrasts, light and darkness, 
life and death, the condition of a venal woman, and of one as 
pure as the evening star when it has just bathed in the ocean. 
He would be told that in the "Hidden Wisdom" the word 
" grace," instead of meaning a rejection of mysticism, meant 
" the whole body of mystic teaching sprinkled along the 
Jewish scriptures in such a manner that none but mystics 
could read it." 1 He would learn, too, that until he could find 
the mystic " Key of David," that unlocked the " open door," 
he was still in hell, in the gloomy world of torment, presided 
over by the prince of evil spirits, Samael and the Whore. 
1 Ginsburg, " The Kabbalah," p. 4. 


3, 4. Two points brought forward by Bishop Lightfoot 
may be considered together. It is alleged that Christ con 
demned the extra strict sabbatolatry of the Essenes, and their 
lustrations added to the Law of Moses. But here an objection 
suggests itself at starting. Bishop Lightfoot is the keenest 
and most learned disputant in the English Church. It is, 
therefore, important to respectfully consider all that such a 
writer can bring forward on a subject where his following is 
so enormous. But it must be borne in mind that his leading 
thesis is not alone that Jesus was not an Essene, but that He 
was a strict observer of the Laws of Moses, as interpreted by 
their recognized exponents, the dominant section of the Jews. 
Supposing that we grant all that he says about the Essene 
sabbaths and their lustrations, is it not plain that his argument 
likewise demolishes his own theory, unless he can show that 
the numerous passages of the New Testament where Christ was 
adjudged guilty of death for the offence of sabbath breaking 
are spurious ? If one of these accounts is genuine, it is per 
fectly plain that Christ was not an observer of every jot and 
tittle of the law. When the bishop retorts that he was Lord of 
the Sabbath, that argument concedes at once the very point at 
issue. It relegates him to the ranks of mystical Israel, which 
held that the voice of God was in the breast of the living 
Nazarite and not in the worm-eaten records which the Saviour 
contemptuously called that " which hath been said by those 
of old time." 

But it is not until we consider the important question of 
the rites of the early church that we can appreciate the full 
force of the case against the bishop. The Christians, as we 
see from the earliest record, celebrated their Sabbath on 
Sunday, not Saturday. This was plainly done with Christ s 
sanction, and no conceivable piece of evidence could more 
plainly show that He did not accept the ruling of the domi 
nant party. It has been suggested that Sunday was the 
Essene Sabbath, and that that was the reason of the 

No two institutions could be more different than the 
Sabbath of sacrificial and the Sabbath of mystical Israel. 


The Sabbath of the dominant party was a holy convocation, 
a "day of blowing of trumpets" (Numb. xxix. i). It was a 
compulsory feast and holiday rather than holy day, on which 
two lambs had to be offered up, with strong wine, and a tenth 
part of an ephah of flour, mingled with a fourth part of a hin 
of beaten oil. 1 As a considerable portion of these offerings 
went to the priests, the savage laws about the very strict 
observance of the Sabbath are rendered intelligible. It was 
a weekly tax for the support of the priesthood. 

" This is the law of the meat-offering : the sons of Aaron 
shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar. And he shall 
take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat-offering, and 
of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the 
meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet 
savour, even the memorial of it, unto the Lord. And the 
remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat : with un 
leavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place " (Lev. vi. 

On the other hand Philo, in his treatise on " The Contem 
plative Life," gives us the rites of the Essenes and Therapeuts. 
Once a week they met, " clad in white and of a joyful coun 
tenance," for " prayers," " allegorical " explanations of the 
scriptures, hymns, and the breaking of bread. All this, 
including the white garments, made up the earliest Christian 
rites, so it is plain that Christ s followers knew little of His 
great anti-Essene movement. Dr. Lightfoot says that Christ 
fulfilled the Law ; also that He " enunciated the great prin 
ciple, as wide in its application as the Law itself, that man 
was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man." 2 
The Jews had certain rites for Saturday. Christ appointed 
quite different rites for another day. If this is " fulfilling " a 
law, how can a law be broken ? It must be remembered, too, 
that according to the eternal and unchangeable covenant of 
Jehovah ( I Chron. xvi. 17), "the priests, the Levites," were 
to be the sole interpreters of the Jewish law. To enunciate 
great principles of expansion or change was in consequence 

1 Numb, xxviii. I, et seq. 

2 Lightfoot, " Epistle to the Galatians," p. 286. 


a worse violation of that law than mere disobedience. Death 
was the penalty (Lev. xxii. 8-12). 

4. On the subject of the " lustrations added to the Law of 
Moses," the bishop seems to get upon still more dangerous 
ground. Surely the first question that at once suggests itself 
is that, if Christ wished, as the bishop thinks, every jot and 
tittle of that Law to remain intact, why did He introduce the 
Essene baptismal lustration into his religion at all ? Also, if 
He uttered the words attributed to Him, His disciples that 
He left behind Him to spread His religion seem to have paid 
very little attention to them, for the Church has always used 
lustrations at child-naming, adult baptism, exorcisms, entering 
a temple, at burial, three times during the mass, many times 
during the consecration of a church, and so on. It is to be 
remarked, too, that in the gospels Christ is invariably depicted 
as condemning the lustrations of anti-mystical Israel. These 
passages 1 are either historical or unhistorical. If the bishop 
detects an unhistorical element in them, they are worthless to 
prove his case. If they are historical, they depict Christ as 
an opponent, not a partisan of anti-mystical Israel. 

5. In the matter of " extra Jewish exclusiveness," I fail to 
follow the logic of Bishop Lightfoot. Philo knew nothing 
of any rabid Essene exclusiveness. He calls the Jewish 
mystics "citizens of heaven," and says significantly, that they 
had abandoned "fatherlands" as well as children, wives, 
parents, brethren. He claims that they were akin with the 
Pythagoreans, Mages," and the " Gymnosophists of India," 
who abstained from the sacrifice of living animals, thus plainly 
connecting, I may point out, the Gnosticism of Alexandria 
with Indian Buddhism. 2 On the other hand, Mosaism forbade 
missionary labour. The prohibition, says Gibbon, of receiving 
foreign nations " into the congregation, which in some cases 
was perpetual, almost always extended to the third, to the 
seventh, or even to the tenth generation." 3 

The fact that Christianity seeks to bring humanity into 

1 Luke xi. 37 ; Mark vii. i, etc. 

1 " Every Virtuous Man is Free." 

3 " Decline and Fall," chap. xv. ; Deut. xxiii. 3. 


" one fold " is adduced by Dr. Lightfoot to prove that Christ 
belonged to the non-proselytizing section. Surely, the inference 
is exactly the reverse. 

6. To prove his position that Christ was anointed with oil, 
which the Essenes considered a defilement, Dr. Lightfoot 
brings forward the story of the woman anointing Christ. It 
is told in a very different way by Mark, Luke, and John. 
Mark says that Christ s head was anointed with "spikenard 
very precious," Luke with oil. John, on the other hand, says 
that Christ s feet alone were anointed, and that with spike 
nard, whilst Luke tells us that the feet were anointed " with 
tears." This last is the most beautiful story, and seems to fit 
in best with the sequence that the tears of even the Magna 
Civitatis peccatrix can move the Ruler of the Sky to com 
passion. Probably the word " oil " was by-and-by put in to 
give a sanction to extreme unction. That a prostitute should 
anoint a man in good health " to the burying " (Mark xiv. 8) 
seems improbable. That she should guess that a zealot of 
anti-mystical Israel was about to be put to death by His own 
partisans seems impossible. 

The word anointing, in the early church, was applied to 
its baptism. 1 

7. " The Essenes," says Bishop Lightfoot, " denied the 
resurrection of the body." So did Christ, who has shown us 
that Lazarus, the penitent thief, Moses and Elias, instead of 
being wedded to their rotting bodies in the tomb awaiting 
the sound of a trumpet, are in skyey " mansions," the two 
latter certainly in spirit bodies. Paul also denied this physical 
resurrection. So does chemistry, a science of which the 
framers of the doctrine of the resurrection of the material 
body were quite ignorant. The human body is so much 
water, lime, gas, etc., and in the six thousand or six hundred 
thousand years that the human race has endured, some of 
these ingredients must have formed part of more than one 
dying individual. This makes it impossible for every one to 
claim the exact chemicals that made up his body at the 
moment of death. 

1 Riddle, " Christian Antiquities/ p. 442 


8. The question whether the Essenes were " prophets " or 
fortune-tellers belongs chiefly to philology. Was the Baptist 
an Essene, and was he a prophet or a fortune-teller? 

Perhaps I may here mention one point more. The narra 
tive of Jesus turning water into wine is believed by almost all 
independent scholars to be didactic rather than historical. 
Bishop Lightfoot favours the latter idea, and bases much of 
his argument upon it. Dr. Giles, however, gives some over 
whelming reasons why it cannot be pure history. Christ is 
baptised in the Jordan. The next day, according to the 
narrative, he converts Andrew and Philip. " And the third 
day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee" (John ii. i). 1 
Cana is seventy miles from the Jordan near the Quarantania. 
This is a long distance for a Nazarite, who had just taken 
the vow to abstain from wine, to go in one night for the 
purpose of breaking his vow and supplying the wine of P. 
festival. Also it is completely contradicted by the other 
gospels, which announce that after Christ s baptism He re 
mained forty days in the wilderness. 

I think that chronology also explodes this theory of a 
double revolution. Supposing it to be historical, at what 
date did Christ carry the disciples, whom, as we have seen, 
He had admitted into His fold with what He called the 
" Baptism of John," into the camp of John s murderers ? 
Supposing we give His movement an early date, we can 
scarcely conceive such a movement would be reversed by the 
disciple appointed by the Divine Spirit to succeed Him as 
head of the Church. James was martyred A.D. 44, and 
twenty-two years afterwards pure Essenism was not only the 
religion of the Church of Jerusalem, but, as Bishop Lightfoot 
shows, this "heresy" had been spread by this Church in 
Colossse in the heart of Asia Minor. Accepting the doctor s 
dates, is not this a very short time for two root-and-branch 
revolutions ? 

By a brief comparison of Mosaism and Christianity, it will 
be seen how sweeping must have been each of these changes. 
The institutions of Mosaism seem plainly to have been 
1 " Hebrew and Christian Records," vol. ii. p. 178. 


devised for a very small tribe. This is proved by the fact 
that it sanctioned only one temple ; and to this temple once 
a week every Israelite, under pain of death, was required to 
repair, to enrich and support the priesthood by the sacrifice 
of two lambs. 1 For the three great yearly festivals, pilgrim 
ages to this temple, and larger offerings, had to be made ; an 
edict that became very burdensome when the nation increased. 
The world, to a savage tribe, consists of its own wigwams and 
a few neighbouring tribes, who it fancies will slaughter if 
not slaughtered. Hence the bloody edicts of the Jewish 

" But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy 
God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou^ shalt save alive 
nothing that brcatheth : but thou shalt utterly destroy them ; 
namely, the Hittites, and the Arnorites, the Canaanites, and 
the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord thy 
God hath commanded thee" (Deut. xx. 16, 17). 

To similar archaic civilization must be attributed the 
narrow laws against marriage outside the tribe, commerce, 
and propagandism. The theology is also the theology of 
early races. God resided not in the heavens, but in an ark 
of shittim wood, covered with " beat out " gold, in the midst 
of the tribe. The eschatology was the eschatology of the 
cave man. The soul, after death, went with its body to the 
cavern where it was entombed, went to Sheol. It is true 
that the prophets learnt from the Babylonian priests more 
noble ideas, but these were discouraged by the priests, Avho 
wanted God still to be conceived as residing in His little 
" ark." It must be remembered too, that slavery, polygamy, 
and the duty of private murder, as in Corsica, were parts 
of this eternal covenant. 

I fail to see, with some modern writers, how this code can 
be due to the epoch of King Hezekiah, although it may have 
been codified in his reign. It seems quite unsuited to the 
reign of a civilized king, whose policy made it necessary for 
him to court the alliance of Egypt against Assyria. In this 
code the priest is absolute. He administers as well as makes 
1 Numb, xxviii. 9. 


the laws ; and taxation is entirely in his interest. Tithes, 
firstfruits, exactions of flour, the weekly and four-monthly 
slaughter of beasts all profit him. He exacts a ransom for 
the first-born son. The number of purifications is excessive. 
Then there is the greedy exaction for what is entitled the 
"sin through ignorance" (Lev. iv. 13), which seems practically 
to have placed the property of the layman in the hands 
of the priest ; for he could be mulcted of " a young bullock " 
at any moment for an offence against a code of which, as 
Mr. Stanley puts it, " he was expected to be ignorant, as the 
documents were in the priests hands." l It is scarcely to 
be thought, too, that the puerile laws about stoning oxen, 
slaughtering a perfumer who made a smell like the temple 
smells, putting to death the man who ate fat and blood in 
his meat, could be due to a king as civilized as Hezekiah. 
I think even a brief sketch like this shows what a tremendous 
undertaking it would have been to carry the Nazarites bodily 
into the fold of Caiaphas. 

For without doubt Mosaism and Christianity are pure 
antagonisms ; and Renan is right in giving to Marcion the 
credit of first emphasizing this fact. The one held that the 
spiritual world was the only real world, and that the seen 
world was a mere dream and hint of it. The other, as inter 
preted by the dominant party, held that the seen world was 
the only real world, and that the unseen world was visionary. 
The God of Mosaism was the God of a small tribe, with 
the prejudices of a small tribe against the rest of mankind. 
The God of the Christians had for motto, "One Fold 
under One Shepherd." The rewards promised to good 
deeds by the God of the Jews took the form of matter. 
The active merchants who in Christ s day were already 
the great traffickers of the world were promised grain 
and shekels as a recompense for ritual obedience. Their 
favourite text promised a full basket and store (Deut. xxviii. 
5). The Christians, on the other hand, asserted that all the 
grain and shekels of the world could not secure moral happi 
ness. This hinged on the absence, not the presence, of 
1 "The Religion of the Future," p. 285. 


shekels. In short, one was the religion of the spiritual world, 
and it enjoined communion with that world as the highest 
duty of man. The other was the religion of the seen world, 
and it pronounced such intercourse a capital offence. A 
leading thought of one was to spread brotherly love through 
the wide world. With the other, God s blessings would have 
lost all savour if he thought that they were enjoyed outside 
Palestine. The one was the religion of the individual with 
conscience for high priest, the other was religion by body 
corporate with conscience suppressed. 

One argument of Bishop Lightfoot I had nearly forgotten, 
although perhaps it is too purely theological for these pages. 
He relies on the alleged fact that an advanced Christology 
distinguished the earliest religious thought of the Church of 
Jerusalem, which the " heretics " altered. But is there any 
evidence of this advanced Christology at an early date ? 
German scholars say, No ! Jerusalem had the earliest Gospel, 
the original of the Synoptics, and in it Christ utters the cry 
of abandonment on the cross, fears the cup of agony, receives 
the Holy Spirit at baptism, "grew and waxed strong in 
spirit " (Luke ii. 40), which two last facts scarcely bear out 
the theory that the original writer of the Gospel held the 
notions of many modern pulpits that Jesus was the Ruler 
of Heaven, that had for a time abrogated His omnipresence, 
but not His omniscience. 

Recently a valuable light has been thrown on this question 
by the discovery of a very early Christian book, the " Teaching 
of the Apostles." In it Christ is only mentioned once, and 
that as "Jesus Thy Servant. The Saturday Review of July 
19, 1884, speaks thus of it 

" The importance of such a work as this, exhibiting to us 
in such plain, unvarnished fashion a portion of the Christian 
Church in its earliest development, as we have said, can hardly 
be exaggerated. Its value is enhanced by the unexpected 
and, we may almost say, the startling character of the picture. 
The authenticity of the work is guaranteed by its complete 
unlikeness to anything which any one forging a document for 
party purposes doctrinal or ecclesiastical would have con- 


ceived. The large additions made to it at a later date in the 
so-called " Apostolical Constitutions " and in the " Epitome," 
to support the definitely formed system of Church polity and 
ritual by that time elaborated, are a warrant for the genuine 
ness of the bare and cold original, in which we look in vain 
for any trace of specifically Christian doctrine, Christian fer 
vour, or Church organization according to the platform univer 
sally established at the close of the second century. Of all 
the books of the New Testament it has the greatest relation 
ship to the Epistle of St. James. Like that, it deals with 
moral and practical subjects, and is entirely devoid of dog 
matic teaching, and has a certain Jewish colouring, easier, 
perhaps, to feel than to specify. Like that, too, there is in it 
a complete silence as to the leading facts of the Christian 
faith. There is nothing in it from beginning to end to indi 
cate that the compiler had any acquaintance with the Incar 
nation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, or the gift of the 
Spirit, and the bearing of those great facts of Redemption on 
the spiritual life." 

The critic adds that the " Agape " had not yet been sepa 
rated from the Lord s Supper, and that the "cup" signified 
not Christ, but His teaching. Itinerant "prophets" figure 
conspicuously in the work. The word " prophet " was another 
name for the travelling " apostle." 

One fact must not be lost sight of, and that is that if Jesus 
accepted Mosaism in its entirety, it follows that the rites and 
philosophy of Jesus and His apostles were diametrically 
opposed to the rites and philosophy that were accepted as 
Christianity about the end of the first century. Writers like 
Renan and Bishop Lightfoot deny this conclusion ; but Gibbon 
has pressed it home with all the emphasis of his most brilliant 
irony. If on the other hand Christ was an Essene, the theory 
of Baur, that St. Paul invented Christianity, falls to the ground. 
For the question at once suggests itself, Why did St. Paul use 
the name of Jesus at all ? Why did he not put himself for 
ward as leader of the movement ? The answer is plain enough. 
By the sect of the Nazarenes one conspicuous leader was 
already accepted. An historical character, sublime beyond all 


previous Western experience had appeared in the world. He 
had given it laws and rites, and newer and grander concep 
tions of life. He had told the Hebrew that forgiveness was 
more noble than retaliation, poverty than riches, the ignominy 
of the gibbet in the cause of enlightenment than crowns of 
gold. He had announced to the death-dealing zealot that 
even in the presence of outrage and treachery it was better 
to sheathe than to draw the sword. He had taught that to 
perform such menial offices as feet-washing was more God 
like than to accept them. 

Renan opposes Baur on the question of the origin of 
Christianity ; but even he is of opinion that it is St. Paul who 
has " assured an eternity " to Christ. Without him the " little 
conventicle of illuminati " would have passed away like the 
Essenes, almost unremembered. 1 This depends upon the 
question whether Christ s religion was an education or a 
recruiting office. The scheme of Jesus was to slowly leaven 
the world by means of a secret society of mystics rigorously 
winnowed by beggary, celibacy, hunger, and persecution. 
Have such little " conventicles of illuminati " been always so 
contemptible ? Was Buddha insignificant when he stood 
with his sixty disciples at Mrigadiva, and the proud priest 
hoods of Asia were already to the divine eye a thing of the 
past ? Was Wieshaupt contemptible when he and the other 
members of the " family of the human race " brooded over 
the wings of society, and were in travail of the convulsion 
by-and-by to be christened " French Revolution " ? Was 
Madame Guyon despicable in her dungeon, or George Fox, 
or Swedenborg, or any other recipient of spiritual forces that 
change empires ? Certainly the sublimest spectacle of history, 
if u Exegists" and "Apologists" would allow us to see it, 
is the historical Jesus standing amid the grey limestone hills 
of Palestine and planning the greatest battle of the world. 
In one army were a few beggars naked, shoeless, with no 
shelter but the caves of the " foxes," no protector except the 
mephitic air that depopulates the shores of the Dead Sea. 
In the other army were the invincible legions of Caesar. 
1 "Les Apotres," p. 187. 


Their weapons were death, stripes, torture, and obloquy. To 
these were opposed patience, long-suffering, courage, martyr 
dom, by a Captain who was determined that the warfare 
should be waged by spirit forces alone. 

Modern bishops and duchesses masquerading in Christian 
communism and beggary may lament its present want of 
influence. They know quite well that if the genuine Chris 
tianity were revived it would tear the shams of modern society 
to pieces. 



Pope Victor Rome supersedes Jerusalem The Introduction of Religion 
by Body-Corporate Marcion He represented the teaching of St. 
Paul His Gospel Accused and Accusers changing places Testi 
mony of Marcion against Roman innovators. 


AT the close of the second century of the Christian era a 
fierce controversy raged in Christendom. The East was 
pitted against the West. On the surface this controversy 
pivoted on a very petty matter ; which was, however, merely 
used in the light of a flag or party badge. The question was 
whether Christ was crucified on the day or the day before the 
Passover. Pope Victor summoned a council and threatened to 
excommunicate all the churches of Asia Minor who accepted 
the gospel account and the early church traditions. It is 
plain that a revolution in leadership had been effected in 
Christendom since St. James, as Christian high priest, received 
tribute from the other churches. 

Many influences had been at work. At first the Church 
of Jerusalem was recognized as the leading church of Christen 
dom. But the capture of Jerusalem by Titus deprived it of 
its commanding position. All Christians were banished from 
the holy city. The church of the Nazarenes took refuge in 
Pella beyond Jordan. From that point it still asserted its 
claim to be the leading church in Christendom, but its influence 

Whilst the Church of Jerusalem was thus on the decline it 
was in the necessity of things that another church should 
rapidly gain influence, Rome was the centre of the political 


world ; and the rapid progress of the new creed by-and-by 
rendered possible the dream of a Christian Pontifix Maximus. 
But across such dreams many pregnant questions would crowd. 
Were the institutions of the humble Ebionites with their 
communism, their celibacy, their uncomprising unworldliness, 
a form of religion fit for a great empire ? Would the rich 
Roman patrician consent to a community of goods with the 
Roman beggar ? Would the proconsul tolerate an allegiance 
that superseded allegiance to the civil power ? Were the 
fastings and solitary communings of St. Antony and St. 
Jerome a fit form of religion for the humble artisans of a 
work-a-day world ? Could women and children and men of 
weak intellect be safely permitted to trust alone to the God 
within the breast? The Christian religion had proved itself 
an irresistible missionary force. But was it not more adapted 
for battle than peace ? The uncompromising Nazarite could 
grind into small pieces all priestly and pagan creeds, but did 
he present a suitable substitute ? 

I do not think that this despiritualizing of Christianity 
was due to conscious priestcraft in the first instance, but 
rather to the force of circumstances. The fall of Jerusalem 
had far-reaching and indirect effects, not all of which are 
fully appreciated. Christianity was specially a Jewish religion 
worked by Jews. This was a source of strength, for it was 
thus kept outside the vigilance of the imperial inquisitors. 
All the early persecutions came from Jews alone. These 
were bitter in Jerusalem, but outside Palestine the Jews had 
less power. This enabled the barefooted missionaries to 
overrun Europe before the priests of paganism knew their 
danger. In the presence of the pertinacity of Jewish hate 
the poor Nazarite showed an equal pertinacity of passive 
endurance ; but it was natural that endeavours should be 
made to conciliate his great enemy. But until the fall of 
Jerusalem the arguments of the Nazarite were not likely to 
have much effect on an educated Hebrew. Such a man, if 
told that the execution of Christ by the Sanhedrim was a 
complete substitute for the ceremonies and sacrifices instituted 
with painstaking minuteness by Jehovah Himself, would have 


hailed the statement as an unmeaning quibble. He would 
have pointed out that these ordinances were pronounced to be 
of eternal duration, and to criticise them was more culpable 
even than to disobey them. 

But when Titus put an end for ever to the Jewish rites 
of the temple, the poor Nazarite would have more chance of a 
hearing. Plainly the rites of Moses had not proved eternal ; 
that was a bewildering fact. But to convert a Jew to Chris 
tianity peculiar arguments were necessary. His main postu 
late was that God could be only propitiated by the shedding 
of blood. Hence the prominence that Christ s death began 
to assume in Christian polemics. In the earliest writings 
crept in the trope that Christ by His death had made a 
perpetual propitiation. This was at first only put forth as a 
trope ; but it contained a great danger to the religion of 
interior gnosis. By it could be brought in once more the 
conception of remission of sins by the daily bloody sacrifice 
of the priest. By it religion by body corporate could be 
reintroduced. This was the meaning of the immense excite 
ment in the eastern churches when Pope Victor proposed to 
change the day for celebrating Christ s death to the day of 
the Passover. By the change Christ was made the Paschal 

But another great danger had come upon Christendom. 
The early church took over from the Essenes the Jewish 
scriptures, read with Essene interpretations. Under the title 
of " the law and the prophets " they figure in the writings of 
the fathers, and were, in fact, the only writings deemed inspired 
until the end of the second century. When all Christians 
were mystics there was little danger in this ; but when the 
lower Judaism was being largely recruited, matters changed. 
The peril of having, as it were, two bibles bound up in the 
same cover, began to assert itself. With commonplace minds, 
like that of Irenaeus, the lower and literal reading began to 
swamp the spiritual meaning altogether. The more spiritual 
teachers in Christendom perceived this peril. 

The real leader of this opposition was plainly Marcion. 
For this the vials of theological wrath have been poured upon 

MARC ION. 289 

him from the date of Irenaeus to modern times. His answers 
have been burnt, but even without them accusers and accused 
have now changed places in the dock and the witness-box. 
Marcion represented what in modern days are called the 
Ethnico Christians, the party that, under the banner of St. 
Paul, had been so conspicuous in the previous century. 
Marcion had nearly half Christendom at his back, hence the 
bitterness of the Roman monks. " Of churchly organizations," 
says the latest edition of the " Encyclopaedia Britannica," " the 
most important next to Catholicism were the Marcionite 
communities." 1 Tertullian affirmed that they swarmed and 
increased like wasps : " Faciunt favos et vespce, faciunt 
ecclesias et Marcionitse." 2 

Perhaps the Roman movement was in the first instance a 
mere squabble for precedence with the Nazarite Church in 
Jerusalem. But as the latter became insignificant in all but 
title deeds, the rising priestly party turned their attention to 
the Pauline party. 

The Church of Rome, says Irenaeus, was " organized by 
the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul. For it is a 
matter of necessity that every church should agree with this 
church, on account of its pre-eminent authority." 3 

Perhaps it was also a matter of necessity that the disciples 
of these two most glorious apostles should be proved heretical 
in the same interest. 

The disciples of Marcion were celibates who enjoined 
sexual abstinence as the condition of their receiving even 
the married in their fold. They dressed simply, and fled 
theatres and public spectacles. They ate no meat except fish, 
and lived on bread, milk, honey, and water. They used the 
latter in their communion service. They bore great persecu 
tion heroically. Their leader pathetically called them, " com 
panions in suffering, and companions in hate." 4 

It is to be observed, also, that it is dangerous to take 
writers like Justin or Tertullian as safe guides in dealing with 

1 Article, " Marcion." 2 Cited by Gibbon, ch. xv. 

3 Iren., " Hser.," bk. iii. ch. 3. 

4 Heim, " Marcion, sa Doctrine et son Evangile," pp. 27, 29. 



the transcendental metaphysics of a rival. The latter calls 
Marcion " anti-christ," and his section of the church "scor 
pions ; " and Justin declares that " * wicked demons put 
forward Marcion to deny that God made all things," and also 
to assert the existence of " some other god greater than the 
Creator." Yet he himself declares that the " ineffable Father 
and Lord of all " made use of the Logos to create the world. 
The two statements seem so very similar, that it is difficult to 
understand how, if one is an " atheistical doctrine " and a 
doctrine of " devils," the other is not so likewise. 

But the most prominent charge against Marcion is, that 
he mutilated St. Luke s gospel and St. Paul s epistles, to make 
these books fit in with his heresies. 

" Moreover," says Irenaeus, " he mutilated the Gospel 
according to Luke, taking away all that is recorded of the 
generation of the Lord, and many parts of his discourses in 
which he recognizes the Creator of the universe as his 
Father." l 

He is accused, too, of attacking the Jewish scriptures, and 
prejudicing the three other canonical gospels by ignoring them. 
The controversy about what is called Marcion s gospel 
has been renewed with great vigour recently. Neander, 
Sanday, Gratz, and Arneth, have supported the views of 
Tertullian, Epiphanius, and Jerome. On the other hand, 
Eichhorn, Loffler, Baur, and the author of "Supernatural 
Religion," maintain that Marcion can never have seen our 
version of St. Luke at all. Marcion s gospel is the original, 
and the present Gospel of St. Luke was composed from it not 
earlier than the end of the second, or beginning of the third 
century. 2 

This controversy throws much side-light on the subject 
I am investigating. 

Many common-sense arguments at once suggest them 
selves, which make it difficult to accept the theory that 
Marcion cut about Luke and Paul for the reasons put forward 
by Irenseus. 

1 Iren., bk. i. c. 27, sect. 2. 

2 See Heim, " Marcion, sa Doctrine et son Evangile," p. 40. 


1. The first that strikes me is the apparent aimlessness of 
most of the alleged omissions. 

2. Marcion sometimes cuts out texts that strongly support 
his views. He leaves a vast quantity of others that are 
thought to confute them. Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and Tertullian 
exult at this, failing to see how much it tells against them. 

" But because," says Irenaeus, " he alone has dared openly 
to mutilate the scriptures, and has gone beyond all others in 
shamelessly disparaging the character of God, I shall oppose 
him by himself, confuting him from his own writings, and with 
the help of God will effect his overthrow by means of those 
discourses of our Lord and His apostle [St. Paul], which are 
respected by him, and which he himself uses." 1 The good 
monk fails to perceive that a very astute confuter may some 
times " confute " himself. 

3. Many of the omissions, including four Pauline epistles, 
are pronounced ungenuine by leading modern experts who 
have taken no part in the Marcion controversy. 

4. If there have been any intentional excisions, they must 
be thrown very much further back than Marcion, as Cerdon, 
the previous leader of the Ethnico Christians, also used 
a " mutilated Luke." 2 

5. Why does Justin Martyr, in his fierce attack on 
Marcion, say not a word about these excisions, and nothing 
at all about there being four canonical gospels in his day ? 
If there were four such gospels, he has disparaged them by 
his silence quite as much as Marcion. 

6. On the hypothesis that there then existed four canonical 
gospels, and that Marcion was the fanciful independent 
teacher that he is now described, why did he not take 
John s gospel instead of Luke s ? Strauss shows that its anti- 
Jewish dualism would have suited him perfectly. 

7. The alleged falsification of St. Paul s epistles is still 
more perplexing. The Cerdonites and Marcionites had one 
distinguishing feature. They almost worshipped St. Paul 
and his writings. It was the first instance of Christian 

1 Iren., bk. iii. c. 12. 

2 Article, " Cerdon," " Encyclopaedia Britannica." 


bibliolatry. Supposing that Marcion had arbitrarily deprived 
them of large portions of their favourite scripture, would they 
have tamely submitted, or would they not have risen up and 
expelled the despoiler from the community? The Roman 
doctors, using a favourite polemical weapon of the day, 
accused Marcion of having been excommunicated for seducing 
a virgin ; but they have neglected to explain how it was that 
the most spiritual and self-denying half of Christendom 
followed such a man with enthusiasm. 

8. The replies of the Marcionites have been burnt with 
their authors, but one little piece of evidence has been pre 
served. One of them, named Megethius, affirmed that Luke s 
gospel, in its present form, is full of errors and self-contradic 
tions. 1 We see, too, from their bitter adversary Irenaeus, 
that the Ebionite Church of Jerusalem gave a similar testi 
mony. They pronounced Luke full of spurious additions. 
As Irenseus puts it, " they reject the other words of the 
gospel which we have come to know through Luke alone." 2 

The gospel of Marcion began abruptly. " In the fifteenth 
year of Tiberias Caesar, Jesus came down to Capernaum, 
a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath day." 
It will be seen by this that it cut out nearly the whole of the 
first four chapters of our present gospel, the statement that 
the parents of Jesus went up to Jerusalem every year at the 
Feast of the Passover, and celebrated it with bloody rites. 
Irenaeus makes this the main point against him ; but the 
poor " Heresiarch " suddenly finds himself defended by all 
the learning of critical Europe. These chapters are now 
generally believed to have been added to the gospel by 
a Greek writer quite ignorant of Jewish history. He 
announces that, at the date of Christ s birth, a decree had 
gone forth from the Emperor Augustus that the whole world 
should be taxed. There is no mention in history of any such 
decree ; and if there had been, it would not have affected 
Galilee, which at this time was ruled, as Luke states, by 
Herod, an independent sovereign. 3 

1 Heim, " Marcion et la Doctrine," p. 44. 

2 Iren., " H^er.," bk. iii. c. 15. 

3 Giles, " Hebrew and Christian Records," vol. ii. p. 190. 


But a graver matter is behind. The details about Zacha- 
rias and the birth of the Baptist have been shown by Ewald 
and others to have been borrowed from the Protevangelium 
of James, which records further the tragical death of Zacha- 
rias. Why has pseudo Luke omitted this striking incident ? 
Plainly because he wanted to show that the relations of Christ 
and the Baptist sacrificed doves and belonged to anti- 
mystical Israel, a theory which would be a little disturbed 
by the fact that Zacharias was the Zacharias that Christ 
announced as the last of the martyred "prophets." His 
death, when the Baptist was a boy, connects the latter with 
Essenism, because it is only as an Essene that Zacharias 
could have been executed. 

Perhaps the strongest text that Marcion could have found 
to support his anti-Jewish views would have been Christ s 
saying about the folly of placing new wine in old bottles 
(Luke v. 37). Will it be believed that Marcion is accused of 
having excised this strong text ? 

In ch. vi. he is also supposed to have cut out Christ s fine 
protest against the lex talionis of Leviticus. Why should 
Marcion have cut out these injunctions to love our enemies 
and forgive insult and violence (vv. 27-31)? They quite 
proved that the Saviour was no supporter of the Old Testa 
ment bibliolatry of Irenaeus and Justin. 

The twenty-second verse of ch. x. is a fine statement of 
transcendental Gnosticism. It affirms that no gnosis of " the 
Father " can be obtained except through the Christos, the 
awakened soul. This is the quintessence of St. Paul s preach 
ing. At a time that Irenaeus was setting up the rival doctrine 
that knowledge of God must come from without, not from 
within, and be sought in " Scriptures," that is, the Old Testa 
ment, this text, one would have thought, would have been the 
most powerful support that Marcion could have found ; and 
yet he is accused of tampering with it. 1 With Marcion, 
Christianity was a growth, an inspiration. On the other hand, 
Irenaeus detected its mysteries in texts like the following : 

1 See Migne, " Diet, des Apocryphes." I have also consulted for this 
chapter, Giles, " Codex Apocryphus," Heim, " Marcion," etc., and " Super 
natural Religion." 


" And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the 
Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that 
night." Plainly Moses, with outstretched hands, typified the 
mysteries of the cross. 1 

From ch. xi. 49-51, and from ch. xiii. 29-35, we g et some 
more inexplicable excisions, texts where Christ condemns the 
priest party for slaughtering apostles and prophets. The 
beautiful passage commencing, " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 
which killest the prophets," is amongst these. Here was 
quite an armoury for Marcion to use against adversaries com 
mitted to the same sinister pathway. Is it to be believed 
that, instead of using these texts, he excised them ? 

I must confess, however, that the complete doctrinal aim- 
lessness of many of the excisions is the strongest reason, in 
my mind, for disbelieving the excision theory. The pretty 
Buddhist parable of the prodigal son is as unknown to 
Marcion s gospel as it is to Matthew, Mark, and John. The 
innocent apologue of the widow s mite (xxi. 1-4) ; the parable 
about the son sent to the vineyard (xx. 9-18) ; the parable of 
the fig tree (xiii. 1-9), form part of the alleged excisions. 
Why, too, should Marcion (xvii. 5-10) erase the thoroughly 
Pauline teaching that " faith " could tear up a sycamine by 
the roots ? And certainly the parable about uppermost seats 
(xiv. i-u) seems, on the surface, scarcely so favourable to 
Pope Victor and his party that fraud should be called in 
to suppress it. 

In Marcion s gospel Christ s triumphal entry into Jeru 
salem and cleansing of the temple is not to be found. Most 
readers will agree with that acute divine Dr. Giles, that this 
account is didactic rather than historical. Dr. Giles says : 
" Let us picture to ourselves a single man entering a throng 
of merchants in London or any other of our populous cities, 
and forcibly ejecting them from their usual haunts, that some 
hundreds of tradesmen should have been driven by the force 
of a single arm. It is inconceivable that such a scene could 
be real. The guards and constables of the city would have 
interposed, even if the traders themselves had not been firm in 
1 "Apology," cap. 90. 

MARC10N. 295 

defending their property from destruction. It is painful to 
imagine such a scene passing in reality before our eyes. We 
cannot conceive that the Son of God and Saviour of men 
should create a tumult in that temple which he wished to 
purify." ] 

In the Lord s Prayer for " Hallowed be Thy name," the 
words " Pour Thy Holy Spirit upon us " are found. " How 
much more shall your heavenly Father give His Holy Spirit 
to them that ask it," says Christ just afterwards, meaningless 
words unless Marcion s version is the correct one. Verbal 
changes have been much made of by Marcion s opponents. 
" It is your Father s good pleasure to give you the kingdom " 
(xii. 32) has been changed into " It is the Father s," etc. "You 
know the commandments " (xviii. 20) figures as " / know the 
commandments." In the verse commencing " Then entered 
Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot " (xxii. 3), the word Satan 
is omitted, a strange change for one whose philosphy was 
dualism. More may be said for verse 28 in ch. xiii. where 
the words "Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all 
the prophets in the kingdom of God," have been changed to 
" all the just." Marcion apparently perpetrated a grim joke, 
if pleasantry were possible in those ferocious times, that when 
Christ descended into hell he released all except Abel, Enoch, 
Noah, and the leading prophets of the old law, " though Cain 
and the Sodomites and the Egyptians," a were set free, says 
Irenseus, quite as much shocked by the last as the first state 
ment. In chap. xxiv. Marcion s gospel leaves out all about 
Christ expounding the prophets, and seems to imply by the 
use of the word phantasma (ver. 39), that Christ s appearance 
to his disciples was in a spirit form. 

But the most important " excisions " by far are the texts 
(Luke vii. 29-35) announcing that " the Son of Man came 
eating and drinking " and was called a " wine-bibber," (v. 36- 
39), the text about the "old wine" being better (xxii. 16-18). 
These verses are also omitted, " For I say unto you, I will not 
any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of 

1 " Hebrew and Christian Records," ii. p. 251. 


God. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take 
this, and divide it among yourselves : For I say unto you I 
will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of 
God shall come." 

I have said enough elsewhere to show, I think, that there 
was no dishonesty in Marcion here. 

We now come to the epistles of Paul, and the great ques 
tion is, Supposing that the Marcionites excised the epistles to 
the Hebrews, Titus, and Timothy, whence have they been 
restored to us? Dr. Giles has pronounced that, until the 
date of Irenaeus, Catholic Christendom knew nothing about 
St. Paul s epistles at all. Of the literature of the first two 
centuries, this writer has been the most profound student in 
England. He has translated the most important relics of the 
Apostolic Fathers of the first century, and brought out the 
-xt of the Codex Apocryphus. In his " Hebrew and Chris 
tian Records," he declares that St. Paul s epistles are "not 
mentioned by the Apostolic Fathers, by Justin Martyr, or by 
any other writer until the end of the second century, when the 
whole canon of Scripture comes at once into notice and is 
extensively quoted by Irenaeus and others." l 

Dr. Giles makes an exception in favour of three passages 
in the apocryphal epistles of Clement and Polycarp, but it is 
much doubted he adds, whether these writings are genuine. 2 
" Justin Martyr seems to have been wholly ignorant that such 
an apostle as St. Paul ever existed, and Theophilus of Antioch 
whilst he quotes the first chapter of St. John s gospel, does not 
even name or remotely allude to the great apostle to whom 
Christian religion is so much indebted, and who resided so 
often and so long in his own city of Antioch." 3 

As regards Marcion, this silence of Justin Martyr is of the 
highest importance. If that writer had known that the most 
formidable opponent of Roman ascendancy had suppressed 
four epistles of Paul, he would have certainly not neglected so 
good a weapon against him. 

Another curious fact emerges. I think I can show that 

1 Giles " Hebrew and Christian Records," vol. ii. p. 386 

2 Ibid., p. 397. s Ibid ? p 399 


the first sheaf of arrows that Irenaeus has aimed at Marcion 
come from the Clementine " Homilies." He says distinctly 
that Marcion derived his system from Cerdo, and that Cerdo 
was taught by the followers of Simon Magus. 1 

I will make an extract from the Clementine "Homilies" 

Simon Magus, " I promised to you to return to-day and 
in a discussion show that He who framed the world is not the 
highest God, but that the highest God is another who alone 
is good and who has remained unknown up to this time." 2 

This is exactly what Irenaeus says in the first instance of 
Cerdo, who taught that " the God proclaimed by the law and 
the prophets is not the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the 
former was known but the latter unknown, while the one 
also was righteous, but the other benevolent." 

He says, too, that Marcion taught that Jesus " being derived 
from that Father who is above the God that made the world, 
and coming into Judaea in the times of Pontius Pilate the 
governor, who was the procurator of Tiberias Caesar, was 
manifested in the form of a man to those who were in Judaea, 
abolishing the prophets and the law and all the works of that 
God who made the world, whom also he calls Cosmocrater." 

Other curious points of resemblance occur. The " Homilies " 
assert that Simon Magus does not believe that the dead will 
be raised. 4 Irenaeus declares that Marcion denies the resur 
rection of the actual body, or, as he puts it, " the body as 
having been taken from the earth is incapable of sharing in 
salvation," 5 the good father forgetting that the " glorious 
Apostle Paul " had announced the same views : " It is sown a 
natural body. It is raised a spiritual body " (i Cor. xiv. 44). 

Then, like Marcion by Irenaeus, Simon Magus was accused 
by St. Peter of attacking the authority of the Jewish scrip 
tures. 6 And it is a curious fact that the real Paul advocates 
complete continence (i Cor. vii. I, 8), and rules that they that 
have wives "be as though they had none" (i Cor. vii. 29). 
This is the " heresy " of Marcion, who enacted sexual conti- 

1 Iren., " Haer.," xxvii. 2, 2 Clem., "Horn.," xviii. i. 

3 Iren., " Hser.," xxvii. 2. 4 Clem., " Horn.," ii. 22. 

5 " Haer.," cap. xxvii. 3. 6 Clem., " Horn.," iii. 50. 


nence even with the married. The theological controversy 
seems to have rolled very much on 2 Cor. iv. 4, where St. 
Paul talks of a " God of this world." 

All this is puzzling. Did Irenaeus know that the sketch 
of Simon Magus was an attack on St. Paul ? If he did, he 
has put himself out of court by dishonestly using that attack 
to prove another guilty of altering St. Paul s teaching. If he 
did not, he practically confirms Dr. Giles, for he shows that 
the partisans of Pope Victor knew very little about Paul and 
his controversies. 

Baur, from internal evidence, saw that the Epistles to 
Timothy were an attack on Marcion. 1 Dr. Giles detected that 
in the Epistle to the Hebrews the " tenour and tendency " 
were quite different from the teaching of "the other less 
doubtful of St. Paul s epistles." 2 Must we not carry these 
deductions further, and conclude that it is to the Marcionites 
that we are indebted for the preservation of St Paul s epistles, 
and that the encroaching Church, obliged to take them over, 
added four new ones to destroy their influence. 

There are two Pauls, the one put forth by Catholics of the 
type of St. Vincent de Paul, and Fenelon as the ideal of 
the Christian ascetic. They cite his watchings, mystic com 
munion, and " fastings," his assertion that for the mystical 
life he would that all men were bachelors (i Cor. vii. 7). 
This Paul announces that he was separated from his mother s 
womb, a phrase which with John the Baptist and St. James 
meant vows of water-drinking for life. This Paul states also 
that the spiritual drink of Christians in the communion 
service was the water that flowed from the rock of Moses. 
This Paul strives to keep his body under subjection by the 
ordinary processes of the mystic. He announces that he has 
the resultant spiritual gifts (i Cor. xii. i). His motto is, 
" Walk in Sophia ! " the phrase with mystics for the interior 
life (Col. iv. 5). 

The other Paul is the champion of anti-mystical Angli 
canism. Bishop Lightfoot puts him forward, as we have seen. 

1 Baur, " Life and Work of St. Paul," vol. ii. p 100. 

2 " Hebrew and Christian Records," vol. ii. p. 396. 


This Paul held that " asceticism postulates the malignity of 
matter and is wholly inconsistent with the teaching of the 
Gospel." x This Paul held that Gnosticism was " false teach 
ing," and " monstrous developments," " heresy," 2 " a shadowy 
mysticism which loses itself in the contemplation of an unseen 
world." 3 This Paul is a Paul that specially cautions his 
disciples against the "gnosis that puffeth up" (i Cor. viii. i) ; 
a Paul singularly solicitous about bishops wives, though he 
cared so little for the bishops themselves ; a Paul who con 
siders the "stomach" of Timothy before his soul, and, forgetful 
of his own Nazarite vows, recommends him wine ; a Paul the 
apostle of eating and drinking, who, it must be added, seems 
to have made singularly little impression on his personal 
followers, for they emerge in the light of history water- 
drinking mystics of the most ascetic type. 

Let us first judge St. Paul, not by his writings, but his 
acts ; that will test his ideas. Was he a Gnostic ? 

Professor T. M. Lindsay, in his article on Irenaeus, in 
the " Encyclopaedia Britannica," gives from that father the 
definition of true gnosis. 

"True gnosis, not the false gnosis of the Gnostic, comes 
from the Holy Scriptures," meaning those of the Old and 
New Testament, and also from " the Church." This means : 
Suppress conscience and reason, and take A B and C, three 
widely divergent spiritual guides. Also it is a mere verbal 
quibble, for the word " gnosis " was selected by mystics to 
denote not external but internal knowledge. 

For the early years of his life St. Paul conformed to the 
ideal of Irenaeus. It is difficult to find in history a more 
perfect specimen of the " true Gnostic." He sought spiritual 
knowledge in his Church and Scriptures, two guides that, in 
his day at any rate, had the advantage of not being divergent, 
whatever they may have been at the date of Irenaeus. He 
learnt that the sin of sins was independent thought. It was 
clearly laid down in the eternal covenant of Jehovah that 

1 Lightfoot, " Epistle to the Colossians," p. 173. 

2 Ibid., " Epistle to the Philippians," p. 41. 

3 Ibid., "Epistle to the Colossians," p. 73. 


"the priests, the Levites," were the sole judges in matters of 
controversy" (Lev. xvii. 8, 9). It was as clearly laid down 
that "divination," consulting with spirits, sabbath-breaking 
prophesying anything except what the priests pronounced to 
e true, were crimes to be summarily punished with stoning 
In the heart of Israel was a body of men who, in the view 
"the priests, the Levites," infringed these laws. In con 
sequence, St. Paul "persecuted" them "unto the death" 
(Acts xxii. 4). He "made havock of the Church, entering 
every house, haling men and women committed them to 
prison" (Acts viii. 3). But one day, on the road to Damascus 
interior vision was opened, and he began to see himself 
i a completely new light. And then he knew that there 
is an offence even more hateful than that of Barabbas on 
the highway, or of Mary of Magdala bartering her shame 
shekels, and that is the infamy of the priestly zealot, who 
hunts down liberty and proscribes conscience. 

After this, for three years St. Paul was in Arabia, alone 

s remorse, seeking to develop the Christ within his soul 

This brings us from Saul to Paul. Was he a Gnostic 

e Alexandrian and Buddhist sense? It is quite impossible 

the whole history of Christendom to find a mystic who 

regulated his life so purely by interior light. In the new 

Church he says he "conferred not with flesh and blood" and 

withstood" its high priest and its apostles (Gal i 12) 

Throughout his second life he had but one guide, the Christ 

of his mystical reveries. 

The great conflict between St. Paul and the historical 

apostles is, as German critics tell us, the one solid and 

incontrovertible fact in the Christendom of the first century 

This is giving to the Apocalypse and the Epistle to the Gala- 

itle deeds of early authenticity that most other books 

the New Testament are gradually ceasing to be credited 

This controversy pivoted on two points the authority 

Essene high priest and his apostles, and the authority of 

the Jewish scriptures interpreted, of course, in the Essene 

From the bitterness of the Clementine writings it 

seems that St. Paul the preacher strongly opposed both from 

MARC JON. 301 

the very first. As Simon Magus he is made to point out 
many inconsistencies in the Jewish scriptures, and to affirm 
that they "lead us astray." 1 In his own epistles he is equally 
plain spoken. He calls the law "weak and beggarly elements" 
(Gal. iv. 9). 

He talks of " blotting the handwriting of ordinances that 
were against us," of " nailing " the law " to the cross " (Col. ii. 
14). He talks of the "curse of the law" (Gal. iii. 13). His 
visions are mercilessly attacked in the Clementine " Homilies." 

Now it certainly seems a little strange that this high 
mystic has recently been made the great apostle of what he 
himself calls " meats for the belly. Migne s " Dictionnaire des 
Ascetes " cites the following texts to prove that he was just 
the reverse. The first is i Cor. ix. 27 

" And every man that striveth for the mastery is tempe 
rate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible 
crown ; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as 
uncertainly ; so fight I, not as one that beatcth the air : but I 
keep under my body, and bring it into subjection : lest that 
by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself 
should be a castaway." 

It cites also Gal. v. 4 

" And they that are Christ s have crucified the flesh with 
the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also 
walk in the Spirit." 

And again, 2 Cor. vi. 4 

" But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of 
God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in dis 
tresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, 
in watchings, in fastings ; by pureness, by knowledge, by 
longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love 

The highest stage of Christian mysticism was called the 
" perfect man," a phrase taken over from Pagan mysteries : 

" Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the 
Gnosis of the Son of God, unto the perfect man " (a? ai/Soa 
(Ephes. iv. 13). 

1 Clem., " Horn./ xvi. 9. 


" Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not 
have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried 
away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Where 
fore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the 
Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed : and that no man can 
say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now 
there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. For to one 
is given by the Spirit the word of Sophia ; to another the 
word of the Gnosis by the same Spirit. To another faith by 
the same Spirit ; to another the gifts of healing by the same 
Spirit ; to another the working of miracles ; to another pro 
phecy ; to another discerning of spirits ; to another divers 
kinds of tongues ; to another the interpretation of tongues " 
(i Cor. xii. i-io). 

This is the passage from pseudo Timothy that Baur 
thought to be an attack on Marcion 

" Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter 
times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seduc 
ing spirits, and doctrines of devils ; speaking lies in hypo 
crisy ; having their conscience seared with a hot iron ; for 
bidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, 
which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of 
them which believe and know the truth" (i Tim. iv. 1-3). 

It must be said, too, that Hebrews is a polemical pamphlet 
on Pope Victor s side of the paschal controversy. All critics 
reject it. In it we get warm eulogies of an " unchangeable 
priesthood " (vii. 24) ; of " ministers of the sanctuary " (viii. 
i, 2); the theory that "without shedding of blood there 
is no remission" (ix. 22); the theory that a "testament" 
for some reason or other must be sealed in blood all the 
" beggarly elements " and " ordinances " which the real Paul 
thought he had nailed to the cross. With pseudo Paul, Christ s 
death is important for its blood effusion. With Paul the 
Gnostic it was important as an emblem of the crucifixion of 
the lower and material life. Dr. Giles points out that in this 
epistle there are more citations from the Hebrew scriptures 
than in all the other epistles of St. Paul put together. 

Enough has been written to put the reader in a position to 


judge whether Marcion has curtailed or the anti-Gnostic 
encroaching Church enlarged the writings of Luke and St. 
Paul. Of immense importance to our inquiry is the key that 
it gives us to the principle on which the Roman doctors acted 
in dealing with the scriptures of opposing Churches. They 
took them over and added contradictory matter. 

To sum up : is there any evidence for the two root-and- 
branch revolutions on which modern ideas are based ? Can 
it be proved that Christ abandoned the baptism of John for 
wine and eating, and for every tittle of the law of sacrifices, 
slavery, polygamy, Corsican vendetta ? Can it be shown that 
between 33 A.D. and 62 A.u. there was a period of nunless, 
monkless, Anglican orthodoxy before the " heresy " of the 
" Essene-Ebionites " ? All evidence is in the contrary direc 
tion. Christ plainly knew nothing of the first revolution two 
or three days before His death, for He based His miracles 
on the baptism of John instead of repudiating it. St. James, 
His successor, knew nothing of the movement, for he was 
a water-drinking ascetic to the day of his death ; and 
moreover celebrated Essene sacramental rites with the risen 
Christ on the day of the crucifixion. St. Peter, St. Matthew, 
St. James the son Zebedee, were also ascetics, and so was 
St. John, who has given us the earliest document of the 
historical Church, the Apocalypse. In it is a picture of 
Christ s kingdom on earth, with its virgin saints, and, for 
drink, "the water of life" (Rev. xxi. 17); with its com 
munism, its baptism, its fastings, the " monastery without iron 
gates " of Renan. Rites are crucial, and the early Church 
adopted those of the Essenes. And to the vigorous rancour 
of Irenseus and his companions we are indebted for another 
authentic piece of history, namely, the rites of the two great 
antagonists of the first century, the Pauline and the Petrine 
parties, as they appear in the middle of the second century. 
Both emerge water-drinking mystics of the most ascetic type. 
Facts are before forged documents. 



Rama The " Grove of Perfection" Early Brahmin Rites Bow-shoot 
ing Marriage of Rama Palace Intrigues Banished to the Forest 
Rape of Sita Hanuman Passage of Adam s Bridge by Monkeys 
Fight between Rama and Ravana. 


I PROPOSE to give the lives of Rama, Ceres, Osiris, Krishna, 
and the five sons of Pandu. Considered together they will 


1. That the chief ancient scriptures represented the mys 
teries. These, under the symbolism of the growth of the 
people s food, represented the twelve stages of the soul s pro 
gress in interior knowledge, the one important "mystery" 
that man can learn. This progress was veiled by the scaffold 
ing of the ecliptic. 

2. They will show further that the story of Buddha has 
not, as Mr. Kellog and his many followers imagine, been 
stolen from the Nestorian Christians. The ideas of a divine 
child born of spirit and an earthly mother is common to all 
these stories. I shall begin with the story of Rama, which 
was certainly written before that of Buddha ; indeed, some 
writers have traced the rape of Helen and the battles of 
Achilles, Ulysses, etc., to its inspiration. 1 Colebrooke believed 
that the narrative of Buddha s life was largely derived from 
the story of Rama. I shall treat this in consequence at some 

1 Dr. Hutchinson s " Literary Works," p. 298. 

RAMA. 305 


In the autumn of the year 1854, when serving in India, 
I was sent on my first detachment duty. Lieut. Turnbull 
commanded the party. We left the military station of 
Dinapore, crossed the Sone river, and encamped in the exten 
sive thicket of trees through which the road to the civil 
station of Arrah passes. We were the only English officers, 
and we occupied the same tent. We reviled our sad fates, 
I recollect, at having to serve in India when the epoch of 
romance and adventure had closed. In three years, poor 
Lieut. Turnbull was lying in the terrible well that served 
as a cemetery to the ill-fated garrison of Cawnpore. And the 
thicket of trees where our camp-kettles simmered was fated 
at the same moment to be red with the blood of a gallant 
British force, which had attempted to relieve my friend 
Mr. Wake at Arrah. Vincent Eyre was then to reach the 
same thickets and fight his gallant fight with Koer Singh and 
the sepoys. And, eventually, I myself, whilst serving with 
the little column of Lord Mark Kerr, had the honour of 
taking part in another severe action against these my old 
Dinapore comrades, when Lord Mark Kerr defeated Koer 
Singh at Azimgurh. The poor torn colours of the I3th Light 
Infantry were exposed to a fire on that day, according to the 
Duke of Edinburgh, such as few other English regiments have 
ever witnessed. 

These thickets of Arrah, in ancient days, were the scene of 
the first exploit of the god Rama, when he visited earth. 
Here was the " Grove of Perfection," tenanted by holy 
anchorites. Here he conquered the ferocious demon Marichi. 
The word Rama represented to our sepoys very much what 
the word Christ did to us. Writers in England who announce 
that the Indians ignore what they call the higher truths of 
Christianity, namely, trust in a personal god made man, make 
a great mistake. Every Hindoo sepoy in our detachment 
believed that if he died with the name of Rama on his lips, 
he would go to Swarga. His scriptures and his miracles are 



as much a matter of fact to them as Christ s miracles to their 
English officers. 

Our tents shone out against the dark trees ; horses neighed, 
and the water-carriers brought swollen skins from a neigh 
bouring spring ; belts and cartouche-boxes were slung on the 
branches. The silent elephants, who had carried the tents of 
the sepoys, glided away with their keepers to bring in spoils 
of branches and leaves. Anon the loud conch of some high- 
caste Rajput sepoy was heard as he fortified a poor little altar 
of mud or dust against the spirits of evil, with an invocation 
to Rama, as a preparation for cooking and dinner. And 
through the night went up the not unmelodious nasal chant 
of a Brahmin, who narrated the conquest of the mighty 
demon Marichi, who, some hundred years before the siege of 
Troy, marred the pious cultus of a congregation of rishis 
assembled in this " Grove of Perfection," and how the shaft of 
the intrepid young Rama laid him low. What the psalms of 
David were to the old Jew and the English Ironside, that are 
still the warlike speeches of the Ramayana to the Hindoo. For 
at least three thousand years they have incited him to battle. 
The birth of Rama was miraculous. At a great horse 
sacrifice a spirit appeared and gave a magic nectar, which 
his mother, Queen Kausalya, drank. Thus his father, King 
Dasaratha, had nothing really to do with his parentage. 
Three other queens grew pregnant with smaller portions of 
this magic liquor distilled from the roasted horse, a symbol 
of the dying year. 

The demon Marichi was interfering with the rites of the 
Brahmin rishis. What were those rites ? From the date of 
Rama to the date of Earl Dufferin the Brahmin rites have 
scarcely altered. 

The savage believed, like the Christian Fathers, that the 
earth was an enormous flat plain, rich with grain and cattle 
for food. He believed the cold stars, the homes of his dead 
forefathers, to be comparatively tiny and destitute of food. 
Hence arose the sacrifice, a bond fide feeding of ancestors and 
gods. Three meals were offered in Vedic days, and are still 
offered every day at matins, noontide, and evensong. Gar- 

RAMA, 307 

lands and incense form part of the rites, processions, lights, 
vestments. Chant and response are provided for as early as 
the hymns of the " Rig Veda." It was thus quite unnecessary 
for the Buddhists to derive their rites, as Mr. Kellogg holds, 
from the Nestorian Christians. Food, from an early date, was 
taken as a symbol of God Almighty, rice, and milk, and 
barley, and the intoxicating soma. 

Considerable light is thrown on the early Indian worship 
by some papers by Dr. Stevenson that appeared in the 
Asiatic Journal. 1 In the Dekhan and in the Maratha 
country, a simple worship still prevails which he believes to 
have been the original worship of the Hindoos. The " Great 
Spirit " (Vetal) has no statue, and the gods are never repre 
sented as animals. " The place where Vetal is worshipped is 
a kind of Stonehenge, or enclosure of stones, usually in some 
what of a circular shape. The following is the plan after which 
these circles are constructed. At some distance from the 
village, under a green spreading tree, is placed Vetal. If, as 
sometimes happens in a bare country like the Dekhan, no tree 
at a convenient distance is to be found, Vetal is content to 
raise his naked head under the canopy of heaven, without the 
slightest artificial covering whatever. The principal figure 
where the worship of Vetal is performed is a rough unhewn 
stone of a pyramidal or triangular shape, placed on its base, 
and having one of its sides fronting the east, and, if under 
a tree, placed to the east side of the tree. A circle is formed 
with similar, but smaller, stones placed one or two feet from 
each other. The number of stones varies, but I have gene 
rally found them about twelve, or multiples of twelve." 2 

This number twelve represents, says the doctor, the twelve 
Adityas, the sons of Aditi the great mother, the twelve Dii 
Majorum Gentium of the Romans, the "different manifestations 
of the sun in his passage through the ecliptic." The stones 
are rudely fashioned like flames, with red paint at the base 
and a white spire. Fire-worship is evidently the leading idea. 
In the full moon of Ashvini a tree is planted and worshipped 
under the title of the Holi goddess. 

1 Vol. v. pp. 189, et seq. 2 Page 193. 


The same volume of the Asiatic Journal gives from Ceylon 
a "round plan and sketch of some of these monoliths found in 
deep jungle by Mr. Simon Chitty. He affirms them to be 
a portion of the ancient city of Tamana Nuwera or Tamba- 
panni, founded by the first king of Ceylon 5 43 B.C. To come 
upon a dead city choked with the rich growth of an Indian 
jungle and to see its dead gods strangled in ferns and parasite 
figs, whilst through the fine gothic tracery of pandanus 
bouo-hs and those of the Indian fig the slanting sun spark] 
must have been a solemn sight. Behar is the garden of 
India and some such splendid leafy cathedral was no doubt 
in existence in this "Grove of Perfection," when the young 
Rama came to this spot. 

Not far from Arrah and the military station of 
is the district of Tirhoot, famous for pig-sticking and hospitable 
indigo planters. The latter used to entertain our officers, 
appears that in the ancient days a king named Janaka was 
monarch of Mithila, its chief city. This monarch possessec 
two rareties, a daughter whose beauty was quite unrivalled, 
and a bow that no one could bend. The history of the bow 
was a little remarkable. A great sacrifice was once mst 
and all the gods were bidden except Rudra. This made him 
as angry as the fairy in the tale of the sleeping beauty; and 
he came, uninvited, and shot terrible shafts at all the divine 


" Because you have not given me my share of the sacri 
fice " he cried, I will slaughter you all." The terrified gods 
prayed for mercy, and Rudra relented. His mighty bow 
became an heirloom in the family of King Janaka of Tirhut. 
Many kings desired the beautiful Sfta in marriage, but King 
Janaka gave the same answer to all, "My daughter is the 
prize of the strongest. Try and bend the bow of Rudra ! 
Each monarch did try, and each monarch failed. When the 
two young princes left the Grove of Perfection they crossed 
the Ganges and came at length to a large encampment where 
King Janaka was celebrating a great religious festival. 
Rama heard of the bow and the beautiful princess. Mithila 
is the modern Janakpur. 

RAMA. 309 

It was suggested by Viswamitra, his guru, that his young 
pupil should try his prowess. The king immediately sent 
for the bow. It reposed in an iron case. Eight hundred 
athletes and eight wheels were required to bring it along. 

"This," said the king to Rama, "is the Shining Bow. 
Many kings have tried, but all have failed even to lift it. 
I have ordered it hither, young prince, according to your wish. 
Who can hope to string it and shoot with it ! " 

Buoyed up by the wise Viswamitra, the young sun-god 
opened the iron case, A breathless crowd looked on. Rama 
took up the bow and fixed a string to it. He adjusted an 
arrow, and using all his force he bent the mighty weapon. 
It snapped with a terrible uproar. The spectators fell to the 
ground stunned. It seemed as if the thunder-clap of Indra 
was reverberating amongst a thousand hills. The king was 

" Venerable prophet," he said to Viswamitra, " I have heard 
of the brave young Rama. But what he has now done 
transcends mortal strength. I have promised my daughter 
Sita as a prize to the strongest. With her let him raise up a 
mighty race to be called the " Sons of Janaka." 

Swift messengers were sent to King Dasaratha to tell him 
of Rama s luck. 

King Dasaratha came to the wedding accompanied by his 
two younger sons. It was arranged that the marriage should 
be quadruple, a necessity in the presence of a quadruple sun- 
god. A sister of Sita was given to Lakshmana, and two 
nieces of Janaka were betrothed to the other brothers. The 
meaning of the four brothers is unfolded in this part of the 
great epic. It is distinctly confessed that the four brothers 
are like the guardians of the four points of space. 1 It is 
plainly stated also in another passage that the " four 
sons born of one body are like the four arms of Vishnu," 2 
another presentment of the same idea. A gift of cows was a 
leading feature of an early Aryan marriage. Pompous rites 

1 " Simili ai quattro Custodi del mondo," Gorresio, " Adi Kanda," 74. 

2 " Nati d un corpo solo siccome le quattro braccia di Visnu," " Ayodhya 
Kanda," I. 


were performed to the Pitri or slumbering ancestors. The 
cows were then given to the Brahmins that the goodwill of 
the ghosts might be still further secured. 

And now in the " place of sacrifice," in a leafy cathedral 
perhaps, with its twelve huge unhewn columns, the four moon 
faced, large-eyed brides came tinkling along with their leg 
bangles and mincing in their gait like the daughters of Zion 
who irritated the prophet Isaiah. Their clear brown skins 
contrast with their fleecy muslins. Their jewels, it is said, 
made them sparkle like dancing flames. The sons of King 
Dasaratha were also bravely decked. Brahmins muttered 
their incantations and chanted their hymns. The offerings 
smoked up in the clear air. Each prince advanced and gave 
his hand to his bride. The four couples then marched round 
the flaming altar with measured steps. Three times this rite 
was repeated. A prodigy crowned the feast. Flowers not 
grown in earthly gardens were showered upon the young 
couples and the soft strains of the Gandharvas gave the 
mortals present a taste of heavenly minstrelsy. When the 
new married couples had disappeared, King Dasaratha also 
departed, accompanied by Vasishtha the rishi. But ere he 
reached his capital he was disturbed by sinister auguries 
observed on the journey. Birds flew away to the left-hand 
side, and wild beasts appeared in the same unlucky quarter. 
And before the monarch and the rishi reached their journey s 
end another shadow of coming misfortunes was encountered. 
Suddenly the skies grew black as ink and the fierce Indian 
sun was blotted out of the sky. Winds moaned and a huge 
storm of choking black dust burst upon them. A similar 
phenomenon, called by flippant officers a "devil," was en 
countered by the present writer whilst making the same 
journey. When the king arrived at Ayodhya the winning 
manners of pretty Sita made him forget his sad fancies for a 

Perhaps the worst evils of polygamy are the cruel rivalries 
of the palace. Each queen strives to get her son nominated 
heir to the royal umbrella. To effect this, the murder or 
mutilation of his rivals is considered quite lawful. And the 

RAMA. 311 

interests even of the father are made quite secondary to those 
of the boy. When the English government got into diffi 
culties with Shere Ali of Afghanistan, it is no secret in 
diplomatic circles that one of his queens volunteered to 
murder him if the succession were secured by the English 
government to her son. A zenana is of necessity a divided 
house, and a state ruled from the zenana a divided kingdom. 

The poet of Ramayana has based the dramatic interest 
of his story on these truths. It was the misfortune of King 
Dasaratha that his favourite son was not the offspring of his 
favourite queen. This was the hidden calamity that made 
the birds of the air fly to the left and the dust whirl in 
darkening circles about the skies. 

One of the brown-skinned, large- eyed queens of King 
Dasaratha was named Kaikeyi. She was beautiful and attrac 
tive, silly and jealous. This jealousy was fanned by a mali 
cious female slave. She accosted her mistress one day. 
"Awake, O foolish queen. See you not that you are lost. 
Rama is pronounced the heir of the king." Outside, the city 
streets were noisy with preparations for the coming conse 

" What is the meaning of these words, Manthara ? " said 
the queen, with much surprise. 

"You are nursing a serpent," said the slave, "and a ser 
pent stings. See you not that the rise of Prince Rama means 
the disgrace and ruin of your son, Prince Bharata. The king 
has befooled you with sterile blandishments and empty dreams, 
and will now give you a prison for a portion ! " With speeches 
like these the jealousy of pretty and silly Queen Kaikeyi was 
fanned. The slave pointed out also a substantial danger that 
exists in all Indian courts. When a young prince comes to 
the throne, he banishes or assassinates his younger brothers. 

Queen Kaikeyi was soon beside herself with rage and 
fear. " What is to be done ? " she said, with breathless ex 

" Do you not remember, O queen, a promise of the king ? 
In ancient days, when he came back wounded from a war, you 
tended and cured him. His Majesty then pronounced these 


words, Ask me a boon, two boons, and I will grant them ! 
That promise has not yet been fulfilled. Demand that Bharata 
shall be consecrated as heir to the throne, and Rama banished 
to a desolate forest ! " 

The boldness of this proposal took the queen by surprise. 
But the persevering slave was not to be baulked. She 
arranged a clever comedy for the ill-fated king. 

In the women s apartments of an ancient Indian palace 
was a Chamber of Pouting. If any queen grew out of temper 
or jealous, this chamber was always ready to receive her whilst 
the fit lasted. By the advice of the slave, Queen Kaikeyi 
prepared what modern husbands call a " scene " in the palace 
of Ayodhya. King Dasaratha was summoned thither in hot 
haste, and what did he see ? His favourite wife, the lovely 
Kaikeyi lying on the bare ground, and weeping scalding tears. 
Her splendid tiara of pearls and diamonds was flung at her 
feet. Her glittering ankle bangles and armlets were also 
scattered around. Silks were tossed hither and thither and 
the rarest muslins. The pretty nails of the queen were no 
longer anointed with rare unguents of sandal powder. The 
fine artistic touches of kohl that were wont to make her eyes 
sparkle like the eyes of a nymph of Indra, were now blurred 
with salt tears. The monarch, seeing the queen that he loved 
dearer than his life in this pitiable position, sought to comfort 
her, as a noble beast when his consort in the forest is smitten 
with a poisoned arrow. 

" I know not, dear queen," he said, " the cause of this 
anger that you show me. Who has outraged you, that you 
lie thus in the dust on the ground ? If there is an enemy to 
punish, a wrong to be righted, a poor man to be made rich, 
if you want more pearls, diamonds, emeralds, tell me, O 
woman of the heavenly smile. I am the king of kings. Name 
but your wish, and it is granted ! " 

" No one has insulted me or vilified me," said the queen ; 
"but in old days you made me two promises. Those promises 
I now wish to see fulfilled." 

"They are granted," replied the monarch. "With the 
exception of Prince Rama, you are all that is dear to me in 

RAMA. 3 1 3 

the world. Ask what you wish, and the boon is granted. I 
swear this on the integrity of all my past acts." 

"When a king swears before Indra and the heavenly 
hosts," said the queen, " before the Gandharvas and the spirits 
that watch over the homes of us all, we may be sure that he 
will keep his word. In lieu of Rama consecrate my son 
Bharata, and banish Rama for fourteen years to the forests ! " 

" Oh, infamous fancy," said the king in his horror ; and, 
torn between his love for Rama and his integrity, he fell 
senseless upon the cold ground. When he recovered, his 
remorseless wife was still at his side. He stormed at her, 
he railed, he entreated. He flung himself at her feet and 
prayed her to withdraw her ungenerous demand. " If for a 
moment I were deprived of the sight of my dear son Rama, 
my mind would not bear the shock. The world would be 
without its base, the grass without rain, my body without the 
breath of life ! " 

" Once you were celebrated amongst just men as a man 
of truth, a man of integrity," answered the queen. " You 
promise, and now you refuse." 

" The banishment of Rama, O ignoble woman, means my 
death," and the painful reflection came into the king s mind 
that his memory would for ever be execrated as the dotard 
slave of a vain woman and the slaughterer of his son. And 
when, thought he, the holy masters call me to a solemn 
account and say, " Where is Rama ? What shall I say ? " 

" You speak as if I were the malefactor," said the queen, 
with persistent cruelty. " What fault have I done ? The 
promises came from you, not me." 

Thus, through a painful night the poor king fretted in 
" chains of fraud." At times he flung himself at her feet, and 
tried senile blandishments and flatteries : " Save a poor old 
man, whose mind is getting unhinged. Sweet Kaikeyi of the 
gentle smile, take my life, my kingdom, my treasure, every 
thing but Rama ! Spare me, save me ! " 

The poet records that once a king, having promised to 
save a fluttering dove that flew for protection to his bosom, 
engaged himself to give the pursuing hunter any other boon. 


" Cut out your heart," said the hunter. The king complied. 
Our poor, loving, senile old dotard has much now in common 
with that afflicted monarch. 

Morn came, but it brought no solace. The king s chario 
teer, who was poet-laureate as well as coachman, woke him up 
with a madrigal. Outside were courtiers and citizens in gala 
dress. They were collected to see the consecration of Rama. 

The king sent for his son. 

Forth drove the charioteer to the palace of the prince. 
Rama, summoned, started after exchanging a bridegroom s 
farewell with Sita at the doorway. Strong demonstrations 
from the citizens greeted him in the streets. The populace 
idolized him. In his father s palace he found the king with 
Kaikeyi. The piteous condition of the former quite startled 
him. The poor old king could only just articulate the words, 
" Oh, Rama," and burst into a convulsion of sobs. Rama 
demanded of Kaikeyi the meaning of the king s grief. She 
told him bluntly the history of the two promises and her 

" My son Bharata is to be consecrated. And you will be 
banished to the forests for fourteen years." 

" If it makes my father any happier, I am ready to go," 
said the prince simply. 

Soon the terrible news that the prince was to be banished 
spread through the palace. Kausalya heard it. The brothers 
heard it. All were in consternation. A trial greater than 
the long banishment was the task of breaking the painful 
intelligence to poor Sita. Rama told her what had occurred. 
He exhorted her to bear his absence bravely, and comfort his 
mother. This was the answer of Princess Sita 

" Brave prince in mortal life 
Men singly battle ; good and evil deeds 

Are theirs ; 

And each man reaps the harvest of his acts, 
His own and not another s. 
But woman clings to man, 

For she is weak ; 

His lot is her s, and wheresoe er he goes, 
In briary paths or weary tanglements 
She follows gladly. 

RAMA. 3 1 5 

By my great love I swear that reft of thee, 
Protector, Master, Refuge, Patron Saint, 

E en Brahma s heaven were dull. 

Fathers and mothers eke, 
Beloved sons and daughters, what are they ? 
A wedded spouse lives only in her lord. 

Blind malice plots and wounds, 

Laugh at her wiles, sweet prince, 
The shining towers of golden battlements, 

Halls hung with silks galore, 

Couches and odours sweet, 
These without thee were as a desert waste. 

In paths of banishment 

I hang around thy feet, 

Thy weary feet, dear spouse, 
And the rude home of tiger, snake, and pard, 
The thorns, the stony steep, the cataract 
That bellows with the water of the storm, 
And e en the realms of anguish mortals feign, 
As the grim goal of earthly infamies 

These by thy side were bliss 

Thou art my universe, 

Thou art the form benign, 

That speaks to me of heaven, 

That speaks to me of love. 
In wildernesses dank our holy men 

Clad in the bark of trees, 

Dream holy dreams of God, 
Thus will we live, and I will deck my spouse 
With chaplets plundered in the hidden dells." 

Rama remonstrates, and points out how little the silken 
days of her past life have fitted her for the terrible ordeal 
of the yogi in the forest. His other friends try to dissuade 
her. The spectacle of this old-world, brown-limbed, bold- 
hearted young woman, this high ideal of wifehood, at the date 
of the poem, is quite extraordinary. 

A crowd of citizens accompany the poor exiles as they 
are driven by the faithful poet-charioteer out of Ayodhya. 
Rama is the idol of the populace. Lakshmana has ob 
tained leave to bear him company. The fond old king went 
out for a short distance with his son. He then watched him 
departing in a cloud of dust. Rama s mother tried to com 
fort him in the palace. "Rama is gone," said the king. 
" Some men are happy, for they will one day see him return. 


Not so his poor father. Touch me, Kausalya, I see you not." 
The eyesight of the afflicted monarch had departed with 
his son. 

The first halt of the exiles was on the banks of the 
Tamasa. Here was a thick wood, and Rama and Sita slept 
under a tree on a litter of leaves. Each wore the apron of 
bark tied with a cord round the waist. 

Rama escaped furtively next day from the banks of the 
Tamasa, for the citizens still hung on his track. He made 
his way to the Gomati (now the Goomtee) and by-and-by 
reached the Ganges at Sringavera in the district of Allahabad. 
The poet-charioteer was here dismissed with a loving message 
to the old king. He was enjoined to be kind to Kaikeyi and 
to forgive her. They then reached the hermitage of the holy 
saint Bharadwaja, at the junction of the Jumna and Ganges. 
At this very sacred spot is the modern Allahabad. By the 
advice of the sage they took up their quarters on the hill 
of Chitra Kuta, which is about two days march from Alla 
habad, and situate on the river Pisuni. The holy hill of 
Chitra Kuta is now to the followers of Rama what the Lion 
hill of Gaya is to Buddhists. 

" How many centuries have passed," says Professor Monier 
Williams, "since the two brothers began their memorable 
journey, and yet every step of it is known and traversed 
annually by thousands of pilgrims ! Strong, indeed, are the 
ties of religion when entwined with the legends of a country. 
Those who have followed the path of Rama from the Gogra 
to Ceylon stand out as marked men amongst their country 
men. It is this that gives the Ramayana a strange interest ; 
the story still lives : whereas no one now in any part of the 
world puts faith in the legends of Homer." It is added that 
every cavern and rock round Chitra Kutra is connected with 
the names of the exiles. The heights swarm with monkeys. 
The edible wild fruits are called " Sita s fruits." l Valmiki, the 
author, lived here, and he has given his poems local colour. 

To cross the holy Yamuna (or Jumna) a raft was made by 
the brothers of logs and bamboos. Sita trembled at the 
1 " Indian Epic Poetry," p. 68. 

RAMA. 317 

sight of the gurgling current, and Rama held her in his strong 
embrace. Near the banks where they landed was a holy fig 
tree (Syama). " Having adored that sacred tree, Sita thus 
prayed to it with pious reverence, May my step-father 
live for a long time, lord of Kosala. May my husband live a 
long time, Bharata, and my other kinsmen. And may I see 
once more Kausalya living ! With these words uttered 
near the tree, Sita prayed to the holy fig-tree, which is never 
invoked in vain ; and having duly worshipped it by tripping 
round it from the right hand side, the three exiles went on 
their way." 1 

The India of Prince Rama has very little altered in the 
India of to-day. Then, as now, perhaps folks already dwelt 
in tiny brick houses, with arabesques of vermilion and rich 
purple like those of Pompeii. Delicate wood carvings, like 
those that have recently astonished us at South Kensington, 
were no doubt abundant both in the bazaar and in the palace. 
Heavy hangings, with rich browns and pale yellows and sub 
dued reds, showed that a bright sun can teach harmony of 
colour as well as M. Chevreuil or the great Veronese. White 
draperies and coloured turbans and rich arms and jewels 
flashed in the sunshine. Tiny little half-naked children were 
" nursed at the side " like the biblical Israelites. Isaiah de 
scribes the women weeping for the god Tummuz. This is the 
lament of the women of Ayodya for the god Rama. It has 
echoed in India for perhaps three thousand years. 


" Weep, husbands weep, 
For what are homes and wives and riches now 

With Rama fled ? 

Afar the forests smile, 

The brake with dainty flowers, 

The lotus-covered mere, 
The trees that climb the mountain, hiding fruits 

And honey, Rama s food. 
Blessed rocks and thicket tangles ye that hold 

The gentle Lord of Worlds, 
The Owner of the Mountains, and the Prop, 

1 "Ayodhya Kanda," cap. Iv. 


The Champion of the Right. 

Days follow weary days, 

Each brings its guerdon sad ; 
Our sons grow up within our rayless homes 

Our homes bereft of hope, 

And full of woman s tears. 

Fraud reigns, the wicked queen 

Yokes us like weary beasts ; 

Soon the blind king will die. 

O Rama, come again ! 

The shadow of his feet 
Worship ye men, ye women bow your heads, 

To Sita, blameless wife ! " 

The fugitives slept that night on the banks of the river, 
and sped the next morning through the forest. 

" See," said Rama to his wife, " the kinsuka with flowers 
that shine like flames of fire. See the pippala, and the cham- 
paka. We have reached Chitra Kuta, and can live on fruits. 
The bees hum around and offer us their honey. Cuckoos sing 
to the peacocks. Here, O woman of the dainty waist, is joy for 
man and brute ! " 

The brothers immediately set to work and constructed 
a rude hut for Sita. It was made of supple boughs broken 
down by the wild elephants and covered with leaves. This 
rude hut, the pansil, is very prominent in Buddhism. 

When the hut was completed, Rama sent Lakshmana to 
slaughter a stag with his bow. A rude altar was erected. 
Rama bathed to purify himself. The carcase of the stag was 
placed on the holy fire, and the proper incantations were 
recited. Offerings were then made to the dead ancestors. 
In this way the new domicile received the protection of the 
unseen intelligences. Portions of the deer were then eaten 
by the two brothers ; and then the woman, Hindu fashion, 
contented herself with the broken victuals. Thus commenced 
their life in the green woods of Chitra Kuta. Round the 
rude huts the flowers clustered and the birds sang. 

Meanwhile the charioteer returned to the palace and 
announced that Rama had crossed the Ganges. The news 
was too much for the blind old king. 

" Touch me, queen," he said to Rama s mother, " touch me, 

RAMA. 319 

and I shall know you are there. If this hand were the hand 
of Rama, perhaps it would heal a malady that nothing else 
can cure. In fourteen years you will see him return with the 
mystic earrings. Like an old torch, my life is burning low ! " 
That night he died, and his body was embalmed, to delay his 
cremation until Rama s return. 

On the death of the king, Bharata was summoned to reign 
in his place ; but instead of being pleased with the machina 
tions of his mother, he stormed and raved. He refused to 
accept the crown, and started off with an army of four corps 
(infantry, horsemen, chariots, and elephants) to bring Rama 
back. They stayed one night at the hermitage of Bharadwaja, 
and that great adept, by the power of his magic, was able to 
regale them all with flesh meat and wine. 

The necessity of a rigid observance of a promise, no 
matter what the consequences, is perhaps the noblest teaching 
of this fine old-world song. Rama summoned to the throne, 
refuses proudly, " Have I not pawned my word," he answers, 
" to the dead king, to remain fourteen years in the forest ? " 

A curious compromise is effected. Bharata consents to 
return as viceroy, taking with him Rama s two shoes. These 
are to govern until Rama s fourteen years of banishment are 
completed. The chhattra, or royal umbrella, is hoisted over 
them when Bharata returns. They are placed on a royal 
throne. Obeisances and royal honours are paid to them, and 
no public business is transacted without first consulting them. 
Analogous, as it seems to me, is the custom of the Buddhists 
to worship the two footprints of Buddha. From Chitra Kuta 
Rama repairs to the forest Dandaka, and there a mighty bird 
Jatayus, offspring of Garuda, promises to watch over Sita. 

The action of the drama is now quickened. In the forest 
Panchavati is a beautiful demon, named Surpa-nakha. She 
chanced to see the splendid figure of Rama in the green wood. 
His arms were long. His brow flashed with a heavenly 
shimmer. His eyes beamed like the lotus. His limbs were 
the limbs of Kandarpa, the Indian cupid. Instantly she 
plunged deeply in love with him. 

" Who art thou with the matted hair ? " said the demon. 


" Thou bearest a bow and a quiver. Why hast thou sought 
these woods ? " 

" I am Rama, the son of Dasaratha," said the prince. 
" I love thee," said the female demon. " My power is 
immense. It can transport thee to distant steep, to hidden 
flowery dell. Fly with me, and taste joys unknown to 

" I have a wife already," said Rama, " and must be true 
to her. Here is my brother Lakshmana. Love him." 

The female demon had power to change her shape at will. 
" Thy wife is misshapen and puny. In me you behold a 
worthier bride. I can thy wife destroy." 

Surpa-nakha is the sister of Ravana, and, baffled in her 
love, she makes an attack on Sita. Lakshmana, to punish 
her, cuts off her ears and nose. Two of her brothers also, who 
try to avenge her, are slaughtered by Rama and his brother. 

The enraged fiend hurries away to Lanka (Ceylon), to 
her terrible brother Ravana. She narrates the slaughter of 
the two brothers ; and judging that lust is as strong a motive 
power as revenge, she paints the charms of Sita in warm 

" A wife Prince Rama owns, 
With large round eyes and cheek divinely fair, 

Pure as the moon her brow ; 
The locks that fall adown her neck 
Outshine the clustering locks of Indra s nymphs ; 
Her waist is supple, and her shapely arms 
Around a lover s neck 
Were guerdon richer far 
Than all the wealth that Indra can bestow ; 
Sita, her name. Away, 
Away, and seize the prize 
Her beauty worthy thee. 
Lakshman hath marred my face, 
Our brothers in the earth, 
Dashan and Khara, lie, 
Their silent lips call mutely for revenge, 
My wit shall aid thy strength, 

A woman s wit, 
And we will spoil Prince Rama." 

The ferocious Ravana falls easily into the meshes of the 

RAMA. 321 

subtle fiend Surpa-nakha. He goes off with her to the 
Dandaka wood. 

This is the description of Ravana 

He had " ten faces, twenty arms, copper-coloured eyes, a 
huge chest, and white teeth. His form was as a thick cloud, 
or a mountain, or the God of Death with open mouth. . . . 
His strength was so great that he could agitate the seas and 
split the tops of mountains. He was a breaker of all laws, 
and a ravisher of other men s wives. . . . Tall as a mountain- 
peak, he stopped with his arms the sun and moon in their 
course, and prevented their rising. The sun, when it passed 
over his residence, drew in its beams with terror." 

Professor Monier Williams thinks that this "wild hyper 
bole" contrasts most unfavourably with Milton s description 
of Satan ; l but the Indian poet, having Rudra as the storm 
cloud and the many-armed scorpion to depict, was of neces 
sity a little confused in his metaphor. The plot of the sister 
is that one of the crew of Ravana shall assume the form of 
the most beautiful antelope ever seen. This deer skips 
through the wood near Sita, and she thinks it so beautiful that 
she sends Rama off to secure it. Soon cries of help are heard 
in the distance. The fiends are counterfeiting Rama s voice. 
Sita sends off Lakshmana to his assistance ; and a holy men 
dicant appears before her. This is Ravana disguised. He 
seizes her in his arms and places her in his chariot. Soon she 
is flying through the skies in the direction of Lanka. Gods 
and the saints of the past are astonished at this bold iniquity. 
Brahma himself calls out, " Sin is consummated ! " 

The faithful Jatayus, the vulture who had promised to 
guard Rama s wife, was witness of the queen s flight. He 
opposed the terrible Ravana with beak and talons, receiving 
shaft after shaft in his faithful breast. At last, after a 
terrible contest, he receives a death-blow. Libra is killed by 

Rama and Lakshmana are in woeful plight when they 
discover the loss of Sita. The dying Jatayus reveals the 
name of the ravisher. Rama is assisted in his quest by seven 

1 " Indian Epic Poetry," p. 73. 



adepts. These friendly spirits are able, by the power of their 
magic, to assume any shape, but they usually figure as apes. 
The ape is a very holy animal in India. The most active 
of these spirits is the famous Hanuman. Hanuman witnessed 
the flight of Sita, and was able to produce for Rama s inspec 
tion some jewels and a garment that she had dropped in her 
flight. Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, forms an alliance 
with Rama, and promises to help him to recover Sita. In 
return, Rama slaughters some of that monarch s foes. An 
army is equipped, and Hanuman marches south to try and 
discover the whereabouts of Ravana. 

Meanwhile, Ravana has reached Lanka, and has shown 
Sita the wealth and splendour of his capital. Warmly he 
urges his suit, and promises to make her mistress of all his 
gold and jewels. Our missionaries are shocked when they 
hear some of the primitive language of these old Indian epics. 
But the lofty moral tone that pervades the treatment of this 
difficult topic, the rape of Sita, is quite noteworthy. Ravana 
uses cajoleries, threats, intimidations. Sita is dignified, simple, 
brave. She speaks as if Ravana s safety was the only press 
ing point involved 

" O giant king give ear, 

Free me and save thy soul ! 
Within thy breast a guilty hope abides 

To hold me in thine arms 
And seize a joy that ends in agony. 

Thus in his fevered dream 

The madman hopes to still 

His pangs with poison, 
Release the wife of Rama while you may, 

Not long his vengeance stays, 

Implacable as fate 

It traverses the hills and seas and plains 
That part the culprit and his punishment ; 

Soon shall his twanging bow, 

His arrows flecked with gold, 

His dart of glistening steel, 

Grim as dread Yama s mace, 
Disperse thine inky legions as the wind 
Pursues the racing cloudlets white with fear, 

Legions on legions press, 

Their serried ranks shine out, 



With gold and burnished brass, 

And axe, and sword, and bow, 
They hurl defiance to my lion spouse ; 

Thus shall it ever be, 

His shining bolts, through the complaining air 
Shall speed to mar thy panoply and show. 
In old wife lore the Indian fable runs, 
That dying men see phantom trees of gold, 

Look up, thy doom is near ! 
Not far the horrid regions red with lakes 
Of human gore, the brake with thorns of steel 
Prepared by Yama s justice for red hands, 

And breasts surcharged with lust. 

Thy threats and hopes are vain ! 

My death an easy feat ; a harder task 
To shirk my Rama s unrelenting bolt." 

Baulked in his passion, Ravana hands her over to certain 
furies. Brahma sends Indra to the rescue, and he gives her a 
vase of holy ichor. 

As the backbone of the great Indian epic is the invasion 
of the island of Ceylon by an army of monkeys, the dramatic 
interest suffers as the climax nears. The " Beautiful Book," 
par excellence in the view of the Hindus, is full of the marches 
and countermarches of these unusual warriors. Professor 
Monier Williams laughs at this idea, failing to see that the 
pure totemism of the epic traverses his modernizing theories. 
The Aryan cave man, face to face with many difficult 
problems of nature, had to guess what was the function of the 
scorpion and the cobra that still infest the cave temples, 
These creatures, with bewildering capriciousness, could inflict 
death and horrible tortures. What wonder that animals got 
to be worshipped superstitiously, and that they crept into the 
Indian zodiac as an aspect of God ? It must be remembered 
that an ancient religious story had to be presented to the 
people dramatically, hence the value of monkeys heads, 
dragons heads, etc. Scenes from the Ramayana enacted on 
the old Thespian car are still prominent at the great festival 
of Durga. The demon crew, too, are an army of grotesques. 
Some are excessively fat, some comically thin. Some have 
heads of elephants, some heads of donkeys. Humpbacks and 
very crooked thighs are the rule rather than the exception. 


Some have three legs, like pre-historic Manxmen. The teeth 
of some of them would puzzle the limited instruments of 
modern dentistry, if extraction were necessary. The giants 
and dwarfs of modern fairs date perhaps from the early 
Bactrian invasion of India, and the pig-faced lady has probably 
as illustrious a pedigree. 

Besides this, anthropology in the mysteries of modern 
savages is getting valuable hints as to how the earlier 
mysteries developed. These savages wear hideous masks of 
white beads and red paint. They personate pale death and 
monsters with heads of birds and beasts. They smear the 
novice with filth ; and their floggings and torture quite 
transgress the regions of pure mime and pantomime. They 
have, as Mr. Lang has shown, the bull-roarer, the p6[j,(3o of 
the mysteries of Eleusis. This is a flat oblong piece of 
wood which whirled round with a string produces a hideous 
sound. Death is the penalty of showing this to a woman. 
This means that it was seriously schemed in early days that 
the hideous noises in the mystic groves, the dread figures with 
masks and beads should be believed to belong to the super 
natural. Ravana means " the noisy one," and Rudra " the 

When Rama and his allies find themselves arrested by the 
sea in the vicinity of the now-celebrated Adam s Bridge, the 
exceptional accomplishments of Hanuman are brought into 
requisition. He can swim, he can fly, he can swell his form 
to gigantic proportions or make it as small as the body of a 
cat. He passes the straits by swimming, and raises up the 
mountain Mainaka in the very middle of them. Certainly it 
is there to this day, so the story must be true. He has a 
tremendous encounter with the queen of all the Nagas or 
mighty submarine monsters. She opens her huge cavernous 
jaws to swallow him and the mighty aperture is ten leagues 
across. Hanuman distends himself to twenty leagues and 
puzzles the monster. Her monstrous jaws grow capable at 
last of compassing this huge swallow, and then Hanuman 
increases his bulk to forty leagues, and eventually to one 
hundred leagues as the swallowing capacity of the Naga pro- 

RAMA. 325 

portionately increases. Then Hanuman suddenly contracts 
himself to the size of a thumb and darts through her huge 
carcase. Professor Monier Williams half apologizes for men 
tioning such " wild exaggeration." 1 But the student of mytho 
logy may take a different estimate of its importance. At 
the date of the Sanchi temple (500 to 100 B.C.) the sign for 
Capricorn 2 was a huge sea monster with a gigantic elephant 
in his mouth. Symbol and narrative are plainly connected. 
In discussing the antiquity of the Indian zodiac the story of 
Hanuman and the Naga has its manifest value. 

Hanuman discovers Sita in a grove of trees amongst the 
splendid palaces of Ravana s infernal kingdom. She was 
plunged in sad dreams. She wore the garb of a widow. Her 
hair was collected in a simple braid. She appeared like 
"memory clouded, like prosperity ruined, like hope abandoned." 
Hanuman reveals himself as Rama s messenger, but she 
distrusts him. He exhibits Rama s ring, which had been 
entrusted to him, and gains her confidence. He offers to 
transport her through the skies to Rama, but she says that 
she cannot touch the person of any one but her husband. 
Hanuman then has a great fight with the demons. He kills 
many, but is in the end taken prisoner, and they set alight to 
his tail. He escapes and creates a great conflagration. By- 
and-by he returns to Rama, and exhibits a jewel sent by Sita 
as a token. 

The bridge built between Ceylon and the peninsula of 
Hindustan by the monkeys will be famous for ever. This was 
the prophecy of the Pitris, or dead saints of the past, as they 
witnessed the operation of building. The son of Visvakarman 
was the architect. The mighty boulders that have been 
scattered about the plains of India by ice or other action are 
believed to this day to have been dropped by the monkeys 
when collecting rocks for their gigantic bridge. The line of 
rocks that cross the straits and figure in modern maps as 
Adam s Bridge, are called Rama s Bridge in India. And the 
island half-way across is called Rama s Pillar. 

The terrible Ravana, having learnt from his spies that a 
1 " Indian Epic Poetry," p. 78. 2 See p. 7. 


mighty army of monkeys had crossed, made one more 
supreme effort to beguile poor Sita. By the power of his 
magic he produced a phantasmal head exactly like Rama s 
head. He flung it at her feet 

" There," he said, " is your husband and your avenger, and 
there is his bow. I have put his army to the rout." 

Poor Sita was plunged in the depths of despair ; but by- 
and-by a benign spirit appeared to her and told her that the 
story was false. 

" Listen to yonder distant rumbling. Hear you not the 
drum and the conch. Rama is not dead. There is his army." 
Soon the noise of battle draws nearer. The single combats 
are of course numerous, and detailed at great length. Cohorts 
of doughty warriors bite the dust. Even Rama and Laksh- 
mana are by-and-by overthrown, and Ravana forces Sita to 
come with him in his chariot to view their dead bodies, as he 
believes them to be. But the bird Garuda heals them. 

At length the crucial battle takes place between Rama 
and Ravana. Ravana is seated in a magic car, drawn by 
horses with human heads. Indra sends Rama his own car, 
driven by charioteer Matali. As during the fight of Achilles 
and Hector, the gods range themselves on each side of the 
combatants, and the armies cease fighting to witness the 
crucial encounter. The tactics on both sides seems to have 
been skilful bow-shooting and rapid whirls of the cars. Rama 
cuts off a hundred heads in succession, but, Hydra-like, a 
fresh one takes the place of the last one. The fight lasts for 
seven days and seven nights. At length the mighty chakra 
is brought into play. This has the wind for its feathers, the 
fire for its point, the air for its body, the mountain of Meru 
for its weight. This is, I think, stating very plainly that 
it is the swastika, the symbol, the four seasons, the four 
elements. In one part of the poem it is said that the weapons 
of conquering Indra take the form of serpents ; and in a book, 
the " Hanumanataka," it is explained that these weapons 
change to serpents when they reach an enemy. Rama over 
throws Ravana, and his wives set up doleful lamentations. 

( 327 ) 


Zodiacal Interpretation of the Story The Horse the Indian Aries The 
Lower Marriage The Indian Tree or Virgo with the Lion Throne 
The Bird Garuda Scorpion and the Bow The Elephant, Cup, and 
Quoit of Death. 


THE root idea of this story is to reveal and conceal the 

For the initiates we have the story of an ascetic acquiring 
magical powers and the twelve stages of interior progress 
symbolized by the Indian zodiac. 

For those who are only fit for St. Paul s " milk for 
babes " we have the conceivable anthropomorphic God 
Purusha, whose life is made to fit in with the festivals and 
monthly worship of the twelve stone gods. 

Under the second aspect is presented the growth of rice, 
the material food, under the first the growth of the bread of 

"They [the Brahmins] have always observed the order 
of the gods as they are to be worshipped in the twelvemonth," 
says the " Rig Veda." x 

"The year is Prajapati " (the Divine Man), says the 
" Aitareya Brahmana." 2 

" Thou dividest thy person in twelve parts," says a hymn 
in the " Mahabharata," " and becomest the twelve Adityas." 3 

" These pillars, ranging in rows like swans, have come to 

1 " Rig Veda," vii. p. 103. 2 Haug, vol. ii. p. 6. 

3 "Vana Parva," v. 189. 


us erected by pious rishis to the East. They proceed re 
splendent in the path of the gods." 1 

" The body is like a town with eleven gates, through which 
the soul enters. The soul dwells in the heavens as the divine 
bird." 2 

Let us consider these mystical gates. Mr. Burgess and 
an American Orientalist named Whitney asserted a few years 
back that the Indians knew nothing of the zodiac until they 
borrowed it from the Greeks, A.D. 500. Of the Greek zodiac 
perhaps not. The Indian zodiac is detailed, with a little 
disguise, in the episode of the " Mahabharata," entitled the 
" Churning of the Ocean." Narayana, to gain for mortals 
the amrita or immortal drink, coils the serpent Vasuki or 
ecliptic round the mountain Mandar (the Indian symbol for 
the Kosmos), and makes it spin round and " churn " the ocean 
(unfashioned fluidic matter). This action is opposed by the 
spirits of darkness, and in the little story the signs of the 
Indian zodiac, as they figure in the earliest monuments, are 
somewhat clumsily brought in. 

1. "The Deva Dhanwantari in a human shape came forth, 
holding in his hand a white vessel filled with the immortal 
juice amrita " (Aquarius). 

2. " Chakra," the disc with the swastika symbol (Pisces). 

3. " The White Horse, called Uchisrava " (Aries). 

4. " Surabhi the Cow, that granted every heart s desire " 

5. Gemini represents the positive and negative principles 
symbolized here by Narayana and Rahu the Sura (Spirit of 
Light) and the Asura (Spirit of Darkness). 

6. " Kurma Raja " (King Tortoise) who has, like the Crab, 
the mystic outline of the Rod of Hermes. 

;. " The Lion " (Leo). 

8. " Sri, the goddess of Fortune, whose seat is the white 
lily of the waters." Virgo is also symbolized by the " Parija- 
taka, the Tree of Plenty." 

9. The Jewel Kaustubha (Libra). 

1 Translated by Max Miiller, " Rig Veda," iii. 8. 

2 Cited by Mrs. Manning from Kattra Upanishad "A. Ind." i. 138. 


10. " Rahu the Asura," beheaded by the quoit of Nara- 
yana (Scorpio). 

11. "Immortal Indra" (Sagittarius) who pierces the cloud 
with his lightning. 

12. " In the mean time Airavata, a mighty elephant, arose, 
now kept by the god of thunder. And as they continued to 
churn the ocean more than enough, that deadly poison (the 
elephant) issued from its bed burning like a raging fire, whose 
dreadful fumes in a moment spread through the world, con 
founding the three regions of the universe with its mortal 
stench, until Siva, at the word of Brahma, swallowed the fatal 
drug to save mankind, which drug remaining in the throat of 
that sovereign Deva of magic form, from that time he hath 
been called Nilkanta, because his throat was stained blue." 

As early as the date of the Sanchi tope the sign for Capri 
corn was an elephant sticking in the throat of a makara or 
leviathan. This is, of course, the same story as Hanuman 
and the Naga. 

The career of the sun-god begins, as I have shown, at the 
last octave of February, the feast of the Black Durga. As 
the symbol for this month is the swastika, we have in Rama s 
case a quadruple birth. The horse is Agni. Agni, in the 
" Rig Veda," is constantly called the messenger of the gods, 
the medium of communication between the seen and the 
unseen worlds. This brings in a second piece of symbolism. 

" Thou art born, majestic Child, of Heaven and of Earth. 
Thou hast come forth from the wood of the Arani (fire-churn). 
With noise thou appearest on the breast of thy mother. 
Darkness and Night flee away. 

" He is born majestic and wise, under the name of 
Vishnu." l 

As the Arani, or fire-churn, was also shaped like the swas 
tika, we get from another source the meaning of that symbol. 
Its two limbs, as early as the "Rig Veda," meant heaven and 
earth, the two mighty serpents, the father and the mother. 

I wish here to notice a subtle principle of construction 
that seems to have been followed in framing the twelve 

1 "Rig Veda," 7. 5- IS- 


Adityas. These in reality are only six. Each god of the 
summer half-year has his counterpart in the wintry half-year. 
In the instance of the black and the white Durga this seems 
patent enough. The higher Brahminism at bottom has 
always been an idealism and not a dualism. 


" I honour the steed Dadhicras, strong and victorious. 

" Praise the swift Dadhicras ! Honour heaven and earth. 

"An humble servant, I honour the great Dadhicras, 
generous, adorable, shining like Agni. 

" In his ardour to attack (the Dasyous), he leads the war- 
chariot. With a panoply of flowers, a friend of the people he 
shines, beating the dust and champing his bit." l 

The special symbol of Agni in the Hindu Pantheon is the 
horse. The following passage, from the "Satapatha Brahmana," 
describes him under eight different aspects, Rudra, Isama, etc. 
I give the opening verses. 

" The Lord of Beings was a householder and Ushas was 
his wife. Now these beings were the seasons. That Lord 
of Beings was the year. That wife Ushas was the daughter 
of the Dawn. Then both these beings and that Lord of Beings, 
the year, impregnated Ushas and a boy (Agni) was born." 2 

In this passage we plainly see that the young sun-god, or 
year, Agni is the daughter of Ushas, our Black Durga. He 
opens the year in Aries, and has a complicated quaternity of 
seasons for a father like Rama, and, as I shall show, the five 
sons of Panda. The passage of the year was imaged as the 
flight of a horse round the w r orld. Hence the horse sacrifice. 
A selected horse was cast loose like the scapegoat of the 
Jews. For an entire year he roamed free, and then was sacri 
ficed with great pomp. 

Another Vedic hymn explains the wings 

" Thine arms, O shining god, are like the wings of the 
sparrowhawk. O horse, thy birth is noble and worthy of our 
praise." 3 

1 Rig Veda," 3. 7. 6 ; portions of hymns 6, 7, 8. 

2 " Satapatha Brahm.," 6. i. 3. 8. 3 " Rig Veda," ii. 3. 6. 


The wings of the horse are the flames, the wings of the 
heavenly bird, the doves of Agni, 
as one hymn calls them. On the 
other side of the zodiac, Agni is Ga- 
ruda, the divine spirit, as I shall 

This explains the first stage of 
Rama s life. He is the year born 

from the ichor of the horse sacrifice, Flg - 22 

the dead year. I copy a winged horse from Buddha Gaya 

(Fig. 22). 


That there are in reality only six year-gods, each figuring 
in the wintry half-year as well as the six months of summer, 
might be inferred from the Bull alone. 

Vriha, the Bull. Root word, vrish, to rain. Whence 
also Vritra, the Scorpio, as I shall show, of the " Rig Veda." 

"Rudra, one who roars. The name of Siva as the god 
of the tempests." Thus Benfey in his " Sanskrit Dictionary." 

Rudra in the summer half-year roars like a bull. In the 
wintry half-year he roars like the terrible Indian tempest. 
In the one he is Taurus, in the other Scorpio. In the " Rig 
Veda " the demon Vritra is being constantly slaughtered by 
the arrow of Indra (Sagittarius). The modern Vritra figures 
as the terrible Bhairava. This last was an avatara of Siva, 
as the god of cruelty. He wears his terrible chaplet of skulls, 
and rides upon the bull Nandi. " Let us invoke the terrible 
Rudra with the Maruts " 1 (winds). Human sacrifices were 
offered to Rudra at the date of the Mahabharata. 

In the " Rig Veda " Vritra is always represented as having 
carried away the cows or clouds to his cavern (the wintry half- 
year). He is constantly being called a thief, like Rudra the 
Prowler, the Lord of Woods, the Lord of Thieves. In the 
epics the evil principle, the villain of the story, as moderns 
would say, has always an excessive number of limbs, like 
Ravana. The noisome insect that, like Rudra, " assails with 
1 "Rig Veda," x. 126. 5. 


poison," and has, moreover, a superfluity of eyes and legs, was 
a fit emblem for Nature under her most unbenign aspect. In 
the East, scorpions are sometimes a foot long, and their sting 

But in the summer half-year he is the fructifying shower 

" May the fruitful cows with their tongues caress the 
plants. May they drink those waters which give strength 
and life. Rudra, spare these moving creatures which give us 
our food ! 

" These cows who give up their bodies to the devas. 
Soma knows their forms. Bring them, Indra, to our pasturage. 
Let them give us their milk. For us let them become fruitful." 

The bull in Rama s life is the demon killed in the " Grove 
of Perfection." 


The great Indian festival of the Twins, represented in 
India by a too homely word, means nature procreative. It is 
the festival of the waters, when from the days of Rama to 
the days of Lord DufTerin, young maidens pelt each other 
with red water and broad mirth ; and they dance round the 
Indian maypole, the tree of the Holi. The red water repre 
sents nature s fecund juices. The rice buried in the earth is 
now to be fertilized by the rains. The festival is the Indian 
Olympia, where Buddha and Rama win a bride by their 
athletic prowess. At midnight, Sagittarius, the celestial bow, 
is shining. 

The pair, Aditi and Daksha, matter and spirit, the male 
and female symbol, are they not the keystone of the old 
religions. They represent procreation, life, summer ; and 
opposite to them in the zodiac is the wintry arrow of death. 

" Of these two gods, which is the oldest ? Which is the 
youngest ? How were they born ? O poets, who can tell ? 
They carry the world whilst Day and Night roll along like 
two wheels. 

" Calm and motionless, they contain beings endowed with 
activity and life. As parents protect a beloved child, preserve 
us, O Heaven and Earth, from evil 


"Sisters, always young and complete counterparts, they 
follow each other by their parents, and gliding through the 
centre of the universe. O Heaven and Earth, deliver us from 

" I invoke in the sacrifice imploring the aid of the gods 
these two mothers, colossal, solid, beautiful, containing im 
mortality. Heaven and Earth, deliver us from evil. . . . 
Heaven and Earth, our father and mother, grant to us the 
favour which we ask of thee." 1 

In this hymn they are two sisters, and also husband and 
wife. In the following they are male twins, and also inferen- 
tially husband and wife. Sex is of small account in stars. 
" They (the Ribhus, or ancient prophets) have constructed for 
the truth-loving Aswins (the Indian Twins) a car of good 
omen that glides round the world. They have produced the 
cow that gives milk. 

"The Ribhus, powerful by their prayers and justice, have 
restored youth to their father and mother." 2 

I will now quote some other passages that throw light upon 
the subject. 

" Two mothers of different colours, rapid in motion, give 
birth each to a babe. From the womb of one is born Hari (the 
Blue One), honoured by libations. From the womb of the other 
is born Sukra (the Shining One), with the dazzling flame." 3 

" I invoke Night which covers the universe. I demand 
the succour of the divine Savitri. Divine Savitri returning to 
us with his dark face establishes every one in his right place, 
gods and mortals. . . . He will follow two roads, the one 
ascending and the other descending (during the night). . . . 
His black horses step out with their white feet. And on the 
chariot with the golden wheels they bring light to men. The 
noble god called the Asura (Rayless One) rises by imper 
ceptible movement, and comes, wing borne, to reveal himself 
in the sky. Where in this minute is the sun ? 4 What regions 
are lit up with his rays ? " 5 

1 " Rig Veda," v. 2. 2 Ibid., ii. i. 34. 3 Ibid., vii. i. i. 

4 At the moment of the Hindoo sacrifice, just before sunrise. 
6 Ibid., iii. 2. 


" Beneficent Aswins, the same immortal chariot bears ye 
across the ocean (of their air). 

" Of this chariot one wheel touches the unscaleable moun 
tain, the other rolls along the sky." 1 

" Travellers, to form the light you drive along the sky one 
of the shining wheels of your car. The other also rolls 
grandly across the worlds that belong to the children of 
Night." 2 

" Aswins, we invoke to-day your swift and mighty chariot 
.... which on its seat transports the daughter of the sun." 3 

These passages tell us pretty plainly all we want to know 
about the Aswins. As Yasca and the scholiast assure us, 
they are plainly the father and mother, the positive and 
negative principles. Savitri, the sun-god, has two roads, the 
ascending and descending nodes of the ecliptic. In the 
summer he is Sukra, the Shining One. In the winter he is 
the Asura. 


The signs Cancer, Leo, Virgo, and the Balance, are closely 
connected. The wicked queen of the material world and the 
crooked slave (perhaps Cancer) drive Rama to spiritual life 
under the mystical tree that in Buddhism has the lion throne 
at its base and the pearl Mani, also imaged as the bird 
Garuda, in its branches. This is why that bird watches over 
Sita. Sita marching round the tree is Virgo in her double 
aspect. We have reached the " Black Gate " of the Buddhists 
that separates the earth life from the heavenly life. It is the 
Indian gate crested with the bird Garuda. Sita (a furrow), 
as her name implies, is the Indian Ceres ; and in the Dekhan 
Peshwa and all his followers move out into camp on the 
twelfth day of her festival, the Dasara, as it is called by the 
Marathas. Sir John Malcolm describes the ceremonies. 
Elephants and cannon and sepoys and nobles are all dressed 
and decked out in gala array. The whole population moves 
in solemn procession towards the Holy Tree, the object of 

1 "Rig Veda/ ii. n. 18. 19. 2 Ibid., iv. 11. 3. 

3 Ibid., vii. 12. i. 


adoration. The Peshwa in person plucks a few leaves from 
it, after the Brahmins have gone through the prescribed sacri 
fices and prayers. Cannon and muskets are discharged, 
and bows shot off; and the whole population, headed by 
the Peshwa, decorate themselves with stalks of jowri, or the 
rice stalk. Sita is, of course, the earth, and Rama the rice. 
Our sepoys in the old days used to make Sita s festival their 
great holiday. I saw on the drill ground of Dinapore two 
colossal wicker giants, built up to represent Ravana and 
Kumbhakarna. Then the sepoys, disguised as demons and 
as the monkeys of the army of Hanuman, executed a pan 
tomime in which many a sounding stroke was delivered. The 
giants, stuffed with crackers, were then exploded with a loud 

Assisted by the missionary Ward s excellent " History of 
the Hindoos," let us consider the great festival of Durga, or 
the full-grown tree. It took place at the same period of the 
year that the great Eleusinian mysteries were celebrated. 
They also had the Sacred Way to the Fig Tree. Durga is 
Ceres. Durga is Aditi. The Great Mother has seen many 
rivals contest her throne, Indra, Vishnu, Siva, Allah, etc. 
She has seen many creeds wax and wane. She preceded 
them by many centuries, and has eclipsed them all. Her 
festival, with Vaishnavas, as well as with the worshippers of 
Siva, is still the great religious feast of the year. One of her 
names is Vana-devi, the goddess of forests. 1 

The festival of Durga is the great holiday of the year. 
All business is suspended for many days. Poor and rich 
devote themselves to piety and pleasure. One of the most 
important early ceremonies is the consecration of the image 
of the goddess. The officiating Brahmin has to give eyes 
and life to it. With the two forefingers of his right hand 
he touches the breast, the two cheeks, the eyes, and the 
forehead of the image. He says, " Let the soul of Durga 
long continue in happiness in this image ! " He then takes 
a leaf of the vilwa tree, rubs it with clarified butter, and holds 
it over a burning lamp until it is covered with soot. With 

1 Ward, vol. ii. 115. 


this soot he touches the eyes, filling up with soot a small 
white place left in the pupil of the eye. This ceremony is 
called chakshur dana. Giving eyes to the idol, with all early 
religions, meant divine obsession. In the days of Rama the 
representation of a god was a shapeless stone. Stones, espe 
cially the Shalagrama, are still worshipped by the Brahmins 
of India. 1 

Proceeding with his worship, the officiating priest now 
throws himself into the mystic trance (dhyana). 2 He becomes, 
in fact, full of the divine spirit, like a Quaker at a meeting 
house. He places a tiny square piece of gold for the goddess 
to sit upon. He offers rice, plantains, flowers, and leaves. 
For a drink-offering the sorna wine is presented, or aromatic 
water, the flavouring medium of which is usually the sesamum 
Indicum. Handbells ring, gongs sound, incense rises. The 
priest says, " O goddess, come here, stay here. Take up 
thine abode here and receive my worship ! " 3 He then 
addresses her as if she were now occupying the tiny piece of 
gold as a seat. He asks her if she has arrived happily. A 
voice from the priest s throat, supposed to be the goddess, 
makes reply, "Very happily!" Water to bathe her feet, 
water to wash her mouth, water for a bath, clothes, jewels, 
arm bangles, ankle bangles, nose rings, earrings, even coins 
of money, are provided for her. Flowers are offered, each 
with a separate incantation. A lamp is lighted before the 
image. The Brahmin walks round her seven times. 

But Durga is not a vegetarian. She was in existence 
many years before Buddha forbade flesh meat and Krishna 
confirmed his edict. Therefore, if you want her to come 
down and sit on a tiny golden throne, you must give her 
something more substantial than rice. For the bloody sacri 
fice, the Brahmin takes a sheep or goat and bathes it in the 
river. He marks its horns and forehead with red lead. He 
recites an incantation : " O goddess, I sacrifice this goat to 
thee that I may live in thy heaven to the end of ten years." 
He then whispers another incantation in the ear of the victim, 
and puts flowers and sprinkles water on its head. The 
1 Ward, vol. ii. xxxiv 2 Ibid., p. 89. 3 Ibid., p. 47. 



instrument with which the animal is killed is also consecrated 
with red lead, flowers, and incantations. A blessing, in the 
shape of a flower, is given to the poor victim. Mr. Ward (an 
eye-witness) gives a graphic description of one of these 
animal sacrifices : " In the area were the animals devoted to 
the sacrifice, and also the executioner. About twenty persons 
were in attendance to throw the animal down and hold it to 
the post whilst the head was being cut off. The goats were 
sacrificed first, then the buffaloes, and last of all two or three 
rams. In order to secure the animals, ropes were fastened 
round their legs. They were then thrown down and the neck 
placed in a piece of wood fastened into the ground, and made 
open at the top like the space between the prongs of a fork. 
After the animal s neck was fastened in the wood by a peg 
which passed over it, the men who held it pulled forcibly at 
the heels, while the executioner, with a broad heavy axe, cut 
off the head at one blow. The heads were carried in an 
elevated posture by an attendant (dancing as he went), the 
blood running down him on all sides, into the presence of 

the goddess The heads and blood of the animals, as 

well as different meat offerings, are presented with incantations 
as a feast to the goddess, after which clarified butter is burnt 
on a prepared altar of sand. Never did I see men enter so 
eagerly into the shedding of blood, nor do I think any 
butchers could slaughter animals more expertly. The place 
literally swam with blood. The bleating of the animals, the 
numbers slain, and the ferocity of the people employed, 
actually made me unwell. I returned about midnight filled 
with horror and indignation." l 

Durga is worshipped as the smiling goddess of summer in 
September. Indeed, Maha Lakshmi, 2 the great goddess of 
fortune, is one of her names. Her offerings are more bloody 
as Kali, or the black half-year. A native told our good mis 
sionary that he had sacrificed as many as 108 buffaloes to her. 
Mr. Ward records also that 65,535 animals were butchered at 
one feast by the father of the then reigning King of Nadiya. 

Similar ceremonies take place all through the festival. 
1 Ward, vol. ii. p. 123, also p. 90. 2 Ibid., p. 115. 



Each day, the goddess, during her supposed visit to earth, is 
fed, washed, etc. Each day, dancing girls go through certain 
sedate pantomimic gestures in her presence. They raise their 
hands. They turn slowly round. They bow gracefully to the 
goddess from time to time, according to the cadences of the 
rude native music. Mr. Ward and the old missionaries used to 
pronounce their dances very indecent ; modern Anglo-Indians 
cannot see why. All rites, no doubt, in old days signified 
the mystic marriage of spirit and matter. Other dances in 
this feast, of a Bacchic type, are performed by naked men 
smeared with the bloody mud of the sacrifice ground, and 
lashed into a mystic frenzy with spirits and bhang. On the 
last day of the festival, the goddess is shipped on board two 
boats lashed together and manned with musicians, singers, 
and naked male dancers. The priest addresses her 

" O goddess, I have to the best of my ability worshipped 
thee. Now go to thy residence, leaving this blessing, that 
thou wilt return the next year." 

The tinsel idol of the goddess is then drowned in the 
sacred Ganges. 

This allows us to understand a hymn of the " Rig Veda." 
The half-year is addressing her rival 

" I tender that vigorous tree by means of which one kills 
her rival and gains a spouse. 

" Strong and happy tree, fostered by devas (spirits), thou 
puttest forth thy broad leaves. Let me see my rival leave 
my house, and my husband be all my own. 

" Great tree, I also am great, greater than all that is great, 
as my rival is baser than all that is base. I name her not. 
She is not of our race. We will speed my rival to a far-off 
land." 1 

In these few verses we have many epics in epitome. 


The Balance in the earliest times in India was, I feel con 
vinced, the bird Garuda depicted like the winged sun and 
serpents in Egypt and Persia, as the following passage in the 
1 " Rig Veda," viii. 8. 3. i. 



" Mahabharata " shows : " Carried on the back of Garuda, the 
glad serpents bathed in the clouds of Indra promptly alighted 
on the shores of an island." 1 This by-and-by with the 
Buddhists became the mani or trisul outline. (See the Scales 
in the old Buddhist zodiac, Plate IV. p. 119). 


Fig. 23. 

In the " Rig Veda," Garuda is Garatman. 

I give from Buddha Gaya a bas-relief of Garuda changing 
from one to the other. 

I give also from the "Asiatic Researches" the mani changing 
into the scales. 

Fig. 24, 


Sagittarius is Indra, and the myth is that Vritra (Scorpio) 
had stolen the celestial cows (Taurus) and had hid them in a 
cavern (the wintry half-year). 

" Maghavan [Indra] has taken the lightning, which he is 
about to let fly like an arrow." 2 

1 "Adi Parva," v. 1305. a " Rig Veda/ ii. 13. 3. 


"Indra has struck Vritra, the most cloudlike of his 
enemies." 1 

" Surrounded by his army [the maruts, or winds], Indra 
has taken his quiver and his arrows. He is the Arya who 
conducts his cows whither he will. . . . This is why thou hast 
smitten with thy weapon Vritra, the robber charged with his 
booty. This is why thou hast attacked him, the maruts 
being at hand. Under the shafts from thy bow the Sanacas 
have died many deaths. They have perished, those foul men 
who perform no sacrifices. . . . 

" He has beaten in the door of that cavern where Vritra 
held the waters shut up. Indra has torn to pieces Suchna 
with his horrid horns." 2 

" These waters, the celestial cows, were imprisoned by the 
miserly one (Pani). They had become the wives of a vile 
enemy." 3 

The rainbow is called Indra Dhanus (the bow of Indra). 

It is worthy of remark that the upanishads, which the 
" Atharva Veda " 4 calls the higher wisdom of Brahminic 
teaching, are constantly using this simile of the bow 

" Seizing the bow found in the upanishads, the strongest 
of weapons, man shall draw the arrow (of the soul) sharpened 
by the constant application of mind, to God." 

The word O.M., signifying God, is represented as the bow. 
The soul is the arrow, and the Supreme Being its aim. 6 
Buddha is said to have attained to the state of jinendra 
(Indra the Conqueror) in the " Sapta Buddha Stotra." The 
Buddhist sign of the bow is made with the vertebrae of the 
fleshless mystic. 

Amongst the early Christian mysteries or miracle-plays is 
a pretty little drama where Abraham and Ephrem are hermits 
in a forest. A beautiful young girl, named Mary, is entrusted 
to the care of the former, her uncle, who points out to her 
that the word Mary means the star of the sea. It is ever 
aloft in the sky as a guide to mariners. This means that it 

1 "Rig Veda," ii. 13. 5. 2 Ibid., iii. portions of hymn i. 

3 Ibid., 13. 11. 4 "Rammohim Roy," trans, p. 28. 

" Mundaka Upanishad," cited p. 34. 6 Ibid. 


never sinks into the contaminating earth, as do the other stars, 
at least in appearance. Therefore Mary must mean chastity. 
A small hermitage is constructed for the young girl ; but one 
day it is found empty. Abraham is in consternation, for he 
has had a terrible dream. A beautiful white dove was at 
tacked by a serpent, and slain and eaten. The dove, of 
course, is the pure white soul of Mary. Ephrem is also in 
great straits ; but Abraham has been consoled by a second 
vision. Again the white dove was seen, but this time the 
serpent lay dead beside it. Abraham, in disguise, goes off in 
quest of Mary, and by-and-by discovers her at a house of 
infamy. His gentleness wins her to penitence, and she re 
turns with him to the hermitage. Here we have all the 
ancient mysteries of the world in epitome. Far from being 
meaningless, as some modern writers contest, they were de 
signed to inculcate a truth, the highest that man is capable of 
receiving. This was that it is impossible to know God with 
out an experience of the non-god. It is impracticable to try 
to know the spiritual life without an experience of the material 
life. Lofty ideals must be prefaced by low ideals. All pro 
gress comes from reaction. Without the conviction of error 
we cannot gain knowledge. Without sin how can we gain 
purity and compunction ? The mission of Sorrow, a name of 
Ceres and also of the Indian Mother, is to teach us happiness. 
The old mystics viewed the soul as " buried in a sepulchre," l 
the body. It had to descend to Hades," to "be plunged in 
matter." 2 Hades was the wintry half-year, presided over by 
Rudra or Typhon. The crucial ordeal was necessary before 
the divine wisdom could be attained. " Men," said Ficinus, 
cited by T. Taylor, " were engaged in the delusion of dreams, 
and if they happened to die in this sleep before they were 
roused, they would be afflicted with similar and still sharper 
visions in a future state." 3 

It will be seen that in all the Indian mystery stories the 
progress of the mystic is from the light half-year to the dark 

1 " Clement of Alexandria," Strom, bk. iii. 

2 " Plotinus Ennead," I. bk. viii. 

3 T. Taylor, " Eleusinian Mysteries," p. 13. 


half-year, and that the higher presentments of divinity, Hari 
(the Blue One), or Vishnu, Rama, Krishna (the Black One), 
Kali or Krishna (the Black Female), Varuna and Indra, and 
Siva or Rudra, are all in the black half of the zodiac, and 
most of them are painted blue-black, the colour of night. It 
means that the daylight of the material eye is the darkness 
of the soul. At night, heaven s own lamps glitter. 

( 343 ) 


Eleusis Similarity between the Story of Rama and the Story of Bacchus 
Other Points of Contact between the Indian and Eleusinian 


THE sun is aglow in bright September, and a vast procession 
is issuing from the " Sacred Gate " at Athens. This " Sacred 
Gate " leads along the " Sacred Way," and the " Sacred Way " 
conducts over a low hill covered with oleander bushes to the 
little town of Eleusis, which sparkles on the cobalt rim of 
the sea at a distance of ten miles. It is the period of the 
Eleusinian mysteries, celebrated every four years. The copper 
drums sound out, and the trumpets and flutes are loud. 

The crowd is immense, thirty thousand at least ; all ini 
tiates. Death is the penalty of appearing in the procession 
without having trodden on the Dios Kodion. The /uvarai march 
along proud of their garlands. More proud are the tVoTrrm, 
those who know the aporrheta, or secret meaning of the rites. 
They have eaten out of the mystic " Drum." They have held 
the " Vase " in their hands. They have perused the secrets 
of the Petroma, the two tables of stone. They flaunt their 
white robes and bear proud myrtle on their brows. A mono 
tonous low chant, such as we hear in Indian festivals, goes up 
into the balmy air, recounting the woes of the goddess whose 
mystic name is " Sorrow." Dancers dance. Actors play pan 
tomimes on the car of Thespis. On goes the vast crowd to 
the " Sacred Fig Tree," the first solemn stage of the mystic 

And now, amid a louder clash of cymbals and the blare of 


trumpets, comes a solemn car, preceded by chanting priests. 
On it is the statue of a young man cut out in the whitest 
Pentelica marble. His limbs are the limbs that we know 
later as those of Apollo, not those of the tippling Bacchus. 
His face is of rare beauty. In his hand is a lighted torch, 
and nothing else. The crowd call out his name. It is the 
young Bacchus, the son of Jove, he who, torch in hand, sought 
his mother, Proserpine, in the regions of gloom. He is the 
"divine child" of all mysteries, the son of spirit and matter, 
the awakened soul. At the date of the holy festival of the 
Sacred Fig Tree, he leaves the rich temple of Athens for the 
gloomy caverns of the rock-cut temple of Eleusis. 

Sir William Jones, in the " Asiatic Researches/ vol. ii. p. 
132, has pointed out that the Greek Bacchus is Rama. It is 
recorded of him that he conquered India with an army of 
satyrs, beings half-men half-goats, led by Pan, These are 
plainly Hanuman and his monkeys, who also conquered India. 
Ceres is the Indian Sri. Jove, according to Max Miiller, is 
the Sanskrit Dhyaus (Gk., Zeus), with the Sanscrit Pitar 
(father). May we not add that Demeter is probably Diva 
Matra, the divine mother ? 

The stories of the rape of Sita and the rape of Proser 
pine are practically the same, the two narratives supplement 
ing each other. This latter goddess was the daughter of 
Jupiter and Ceres. One day, as she was gathering flowers, 
she was seized by Pluto and carried to his gloomy cavern. 
This was conveniently placed by the ancients close to the 
mountain in Sicily that belches subterranean flames. Her 
cries of agony were heard by Hecate and Helios, but the 
mother only heard the echo. Instantly she forsook her 
husband and went off in search of her daughter. Iris was 
despatched to bid her return to Olympus, but she refused. 
Soon a mighty famine began to rage, for the angry mother 
forbade the earth to bear fruit. In this desperate strait, Zeus 
commanded Pluto to restore Proserpine. The God of Dark 
ness complied, but he gave her a pomegranate to eat to force 
her to return to his kingdom from time to time. It was fixed 
at last that for six months of the year she should dwell with 


Pluto, and for six months she should visit the realms of light. 
During her sojourn on earth, Demeter dwelt at Eleusis, and 
taught the mysteries in that city. 

This story, according to Clement, was told dramatically at 
the Eleusinian mysteries. They seem to have been more like 
the great pilgrimages to Chitra Kuta than real initiations. It 
was the pantomime of a pantomime of Rama s life. We hear 
of seven caverns of darkness and seven caverns of light, but 
these were probably for more serious occult training. The 
author of the article on the mysteries in the new " Encyclo 
paedia Britannica " suggests that the real flashing of light was 
the entry to the great temple. A moonless night was selected, 
and the crowd stood in the gloom of the great sea. Then 
millions of tapers were lit, and the hill paths glittered with 
them. Then came the splendid interior of the temple, a vast 
pile, with its lights, music, statues, pantomime. Beautiful 
women presented Proserpine and her train as in India; and 
we have hints that such episodes as Baubo denudata l and the 
divine hymeneals were too faithfully rendered. Does not the 
missionary Ward hint the same thing of the Indian festival ? 
There are epochs of prudery and epochs before the epochs of 
prudery, and rites are stubborn things. 

" I have fasted. I have drunk the cyceon. I have taken 
out of the cista and placed that which I took into the 
calathus. I have taken out of the calathus and placed that 
which I took into the cista. The bed I have entered ! " 

This was the supreme formula. The calathus was a 
basket containing the fruits of Ceres, or earth. The cista was 
a chest with an egg and the Indian symbols of natural repro 
duction. The meaning has been variously interpreted. It 
meant, I think, the birth of the torch-bearing Bacchus, the 
spiritual man, and the substitution of immortal food the food 
of Proserpine for that of Ceres barley cakes and a mullet 
The Atoc KW&OV, " Jupiter s skin," was the skin of a victim 
a calf. An Indian rite may throw some light on this. 

The Diksha ceremony may be called a drama in which 
the processes of nature are reproduced. The candidate is 
1 " Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries," by T. Taylor, p. 16. 


smeared with water and butter, and placed in a spot that 
represents the mother s womb. They cover him with a cloth 
which represents the caul. Outside the cloth is wrapped an 
antelope s skin (the placenta). The initiates of Eleusis were 
enveloped in a calf s skin. The Dikshita Vimita, where the 
initiate lies, is probably the Pastos, the bed, the coffin of the 
old mysteries. In it the initiate lies with closed hands like a 
child in the womb. In his hands he is supposed to hold " all 
the deities." When the proper moment arrives he is taken 
out of the Dikshita Vimita, the antelope s skin, or placenta, 
is removed, and he is bathed, 

( 347 ) 


The Legend of Osiris The Novice Utanka Hiram Abif. 


" I AM Osiris, who led a large and numerous army as far as 
the deserts of India, and travelled over the greater part of the 
world." This old Egyptian inscription is important. The 
Greeks admit that they derived the story of Bacchus and 
the rape of Proserpine from the mysteries of Osiris ; and here 
again we have the conquest of India as the chief feature of a 
conqueror s life. 

Osiris and Isis, according to Plutarch, were brother and 
sister. They were also husband and wife, for two stars, many 
millions of miles apart, can commit incest without shame. 
They were the twins of the zodiac, and so were Osiris and his 
wicked brother Typhon. 

Osiris, leaving his brother in charge of his kingdom, like 
the Indian Rama, set out on his career of conquest. Every 
where he spread the knowledge of agriculture, and gave 
salutary laws. His conquering army was an army of satyrs, 
led by Pan. In his absence, his brother stirred up the people 
against him, and hatched an infamous plot. At a great feast 
given by the Queen of Ethiopia, Osiris was inveigled into 
making an attempt to get into a strange coffer that was 
brought into the banquet. He was then locked up in this and 
pitched into the Nile. Isis wandered away in search of her 
husband s body, and, guided by the doleful cries of the satyrs, 
discovered it near Byblos ; but Typhon stole it away from 
her and cut it into fourteen pieces. Of these pieces, Isis, by- 
and-by, recovered all except the genitals, and had a splendid 


pyramid built over each. "A temple unrivalled in the world," 
says Dupuis, " was erected in honour of the missing portion." 
This is the great pyramid, and in it is the mysterious king s 
chamber and the empty sarcophagus. The legend in this 
part is plainly framed to account for the worship of the 
Indian lingam. Sir W. Jones thought that the words Osiris 
and Isis were the Sanskrit Iswara and Isi. Other writers in 
the old days derived the Egyptian religion from India, notably 
M. Chevalier, an ex-governor of Chandernagore. Familiar 
with the ancient rock temples of India, he visited the similar 
rock temples that are to be found in Egypt, and pronounced 
that the similarity between them was too minute to be 
accounted for by any other theory than direct derivation. 1 It 
was held that both sets of temples must have been erected 
at least two thousand years before Christ. 

These opinions have been altered by modern authorities. 
It is admitted that the rock temples of Philse must have been 
erected at least two thousand years before Christ, but the 
similar temples in India were constructed two thousand five 
hundred years later. 

As the mystical story of Buddha was thought by Cole- 
brooke to be derived from the story of Rama, I will say 
a brief word on this, because, if we can connect thus closely 
Rama with the early Greek and Egyptian mysteries, the 
theory that the story of Buddha is derived from the Nestorian 
Christians falls through. Anthropology tells us that the 
earliest man was a cave-man. For hundreds, perhaps thou 
sands, of years he knew nothing of agriculture, or how to clear 
the jungle. Like a beast, he dwelt in a natural cave and lived 
by hunting. His first attempt at architecture was to scrape 
and enlarge this natural cave. 

This gives us the raison d etre of the rock temple. It takes 
the natural form of quarrying, as Mr. Gwilt has shown. And 
in his ignorance of the arch, man was obliged to carve his first 
detached temple inside a mountain, and then cut the moun 
tain away. Tis thus that Mr. Gwilt accounts for the charac 
teristics of the earlier Egyptian temples. 

1 Savary, " Lettres sur 1 Egypte," ii. p. 178. 

OSIRIS. 349 

"The simplicity, not to say monotony, its extreme solidity, 
almost heaviness, forms its principal characters. Then the 
want of profile and paucity of its members, the small pro 
jection of its mouldings, the absence of apertures, the enor 
mous diameter of the columns employed much resembling 
the pillars left in quarrying for support, the pyramidal form 
of the doors, the omission of roofs and pediments, the ignorance 
of the arch ... all enable us to recur to the type from which 
we have set out." 1 

The colossal sphinxes and enormous obelisks were con 
structed also by cutting away rocks and hills. The obelisk 
was then moved in one solid piece. One obelisk, some 93 
feet high, was brought to Karnac, a distance of 138 miles. 
Sculpture, too, throws its light on this early period. The 
earliest form of the art developed out of columns and blocks 
of stone. " The addition of heads," says Westmacott, " and 
then of feet and hands the latter close to the sides, and 
the legs united like columns formed probably the earliest 
attempts at giving such objects a human form." 2 

India is par excellence the land of cave temples, rock 
caverns in all stages of progress, natural caves smoothed and 
enlarged, temples without carving or statues, temples with 
plain octagonal columns, temples splendidly carved, enormous 
temples cut out of the mountain and detached. Also she has 
her stambhas or obelisks, her colossal bulls all formed by cut 
ting away rocks and mountains ; and her statues with legs 
united and arms glued to the side. 

Such is the colossal statue at Sravana Belgula, seen by the 
Duke of Wellington. It is seventy feet in height, and a 
mountain was cut away to form it. Such are similar human 
statues at Karkala and Yannur. 3 This seems to point to 
processes similar to those in Egypt and Greece. But here 
our Indian authorities step in. These dark caverns with 
enormous columns that take the form of quarrying, these 
colossal bulls cut out of a mountain, these masses of stone, 

1 Gwilt, " Encyclopaedia of Architecture," p. 30. 

2 " Handbook of Sculpture," p. 87. 

3 Fergusson, " Indian Architecture," p. 268. 


half column, half man, are not due in India to the tentative 
processes of the cave-man at least 2000 B.C. India first 
learnt to build temples in the plain about 500 B.C., to cut 
stone, and to carve a detached human figure as seen at 
Sanchi. After that, she adopted the crude art of the cavern- 
builder. A clever but self-opinionated architect, Mr. Fer- 
gusson, has ruled this, and all defer to him. 

For principal evidence he points to the rails and gates of 
King Asoka s dolmens or tumuli (Bharhut, 200 B.C. ; Buddha 
Gaya, 250 B.C.). He gives elaborate drawings to show that 
their stone rails and gateways imitate woodwork. On this 
he builds up the somewhat large superstructure that India 
knew nothing of stone-cutting until a short time before this 
period, and that here we catch the art in the process of 
change. But I fail to see that Mr. Fergusson s inferences are 
warranted by his facts. The dolmen was the earliest building 
known to the Arya when he emerged from his cave. It was 
his dwelling, his tomb, his temple. With its circle of mono 
liths it was the Indian temple before Asoka. The rails and 
gates represented the confines and gates of paradise in the 
rites. Nothing is so conservative as religious symbolism, and 
this pattern may have been settled a thousand years before 
Asoka. Dr. Rajendra Lala Mitra, in his work on Orissa, has 
shown that the stone cutting of the pillars of Asoka betrays 
not crudeness, but efflorescence. Indeed, the rails and gates 
of Bharhut and Sanchi remind one of the pattern of a Chinese 
card-case. Not an inch of marble can be found without 
lotuses, elephants, peacocks, winged horses. That Indian 
artists should have returned from such overdone efflorescence 
to a severe rock temple with no carving at all save one 
gigantic stone canopy for a high altar is inconceivable. 

Most of the rock temples exhibit figures of Buddha. This 
perhaps, has chiefly produced the idea that they are modern, 
One or two points suggest themselves which make me think 
too much has been made of this. 

i. The figure of Buddha, a naked man with woolly hair, 
is quite different from the Buddha of the early topes. Major 
Keith tells me that it is unknown at Sanchi. 

OSIRIS. 351 

2. These rock temples, said to be Buddhist, are far, far 
away from the Buddhist holy land. No such temples -have 
been erected in any of the hilly country in the chief centres 
of the cultus. 

3. The Brahmins assert that they erected these temples, 
and that the Buddhists took them over. They say that the 
figure presumed to be Buddha is Parisnath. 

4. The most conspicuous figures in some of the Buddhist 
topes are Brahmin gods. 

5. Another important point remains. 

Mr. Mackenzie gives from Lassen s " Indische Alterthum 
skunde " an account of the Indian initiation in the mysteries. 
It has this advantage, that it is written by a Freemason to 
show how close a likeness there is between the Indian initia 
tion and that of Freemasons. 1 

At eight years of age, the child girded on the sacred cord. 
For the " Fellow-craft degree of the Mason," as Mr. Mac 
kenzie calls it, the disciple "was led into a gloomy cavern in 
which the aporrheta were to be displayed to him. Here a 
striking similarity to the Masonic system may be found." 
Three chief officers or hierophants "are seated in the east, 
west, and south, attended by their respective subordinates. 
After an invocation to the sun, an oath was demanded of the 
aspirant to the effect of implicit obedience to superiors, purity 
of body, and inviolable secrecy. Water was then sprinkled 
over him, he was deprived of his sandals or shoes, and was 
made to circumambulate the cavern thrice with the sun. 
Suitable addresses were then made to him, after which he 
was conducted through seven ranges of caverns in utter dark 
ness, and the lamentations of Mahadevi, or the great goddess, 
for the loss of Siva, similar to the waitings of Isis for Osiris, 
were imitated. After a number of impressive ceremonies, the 
initiate was suddenly admitted into an apartment of dazzling 
light, redolent with perfume and radiant with all the gorgeous 
beauty of the Indian clime, alike in flowers, perfumes, and 
gems. This represented the Hindu paradise, the acme of all 
earthly bliss. This was supposed to constitute the regenera- 
1 "Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia," sub voce "Mysteries of Hindostan." 


tion of the candidate, and he was now invested with the 
white robe and the tiara. A peculiar cross was marked on 
his forehead and the Tau cross on his breast ; upon which he 
was instructed in the peculiar signs, tokens, and doctrines 
of his order. He was presented with the sacred girdle, the 
magical black stone, the talismanic jewel for his breast, and 
the serpent stone which guaranteed him from the effects of 
poison. Finally, he was given the sacred word, A.U.M." 

To obtain the third degree, it was necessary to practise 
tapas in a forest. In the "fourth degree, the Brahmin was, by 
peculiar ceremonies, conjoined with the divinity." 

It is plain that we have the seven dark and the seven 
light caverns of the mysteries of Ceres, and the question is, 
From what country did this idea come ? The great temple 
of Eleusis was apparently a great cave temple, but it was 
solitary. " Egypt proper," says Mr. Fergusson, " has no rock- 
cut temples, only sepulchres." The rock-cut temples are in 
Nubia. In the west of India, on the other hand, there are 
cave temples innumerable. 

It is to be observed also that these temples, though they 
were taken over by the Buddhists, were not pre-eminently 
fitted for Buddhist rites. Mr. Fergusson calls many of the 
caverns viharas or monasteries, and the side chapels or caverns 
cells for the monks. Each sanctuary has usually a number 
of these, seven on one side and seven on the other. These 
would do admirably for the caverns of initiation, but they are 
not at all like the cells of monks as described in Buddhist 
scriptures. A large convent had some ten thousand monks, 
and these were usually lodged in little huts of boughs. 

To go back to Osiris, I must here point out, that whilst 
the stones of Buddha and Rama fit in exactly with the 
zodiacal career of the mystic working-up through six stages of 
animal life to the mystical portal, the new birth in the womb 
of the Virgin with the Lion and the Fire Dove, the story of 
Osiris, misfits it completely. This is due to the fact that the 
Egyptian festivals were based on agriculture by the aid of 
the Nile inundation. This event takes place about June 3Oth. 
Then comes the sowing about the middle of October, when 

OSIRIS. 353 

the waters have subsided. The harvest is in April, the 
great festival of Isis or agriculture, and this festival is described 
by Greek writers as having been like their festivals of Ceres, 
with lamentations and lights, instead of flowers and joy for the 
new year. Then came the festival of the Nile ; and when 
the mystic should be opposing Scorpio with the bow of Indra, 
the sowing festival took place. 

To sum up, the stories of Rama, Osiris, and Bacchus, 
reveal the same mysteries. All three conquered India with 
an army of animals ; the pure totemism of the Indian story 
giving it priority. The zodiacal framework fits in exactly 
with the Indian rice culture, and the life of the Indian mystic. 
It misfits on all points corn culture by the inundation of the 
Nile. Its main features are in the hymns of the " Rig Veda," 
the earliest surviving hymns of the world ; hymns to the 
horse, to the bull, to the twins ; hymns to the mystic mother, 
the tree, and the fire dove ; hymns detailing the great battle 
of the mystic with the roaring storm-cloud, a feature unknown 
in Egypt at all. The cows shut up by the god of winter for 
six months in the cavern may point to the experience of the 
poor Aryan cave-man in his cavern on the steeps of Hindu 
Kush or Cashmere. 

Also in the zodiacal framework of each story much illus 
trates and explains the others. The Indian feast of the Tree 
is the half-way house in the life of the mystic ; the feast of 
the Greater Mysteries at Eleusis. At this period we have the 
rape of Sita, the rape of Proserpine, Osiris shut up in his box, 
incidents which the Greek story confesses to symbolize the 
entry to Hades, imaged as the six wintry months. At that 
period the mystic forsakes his animal life for his battle with 
the demoniacal host a battle to terminate only under the sign 
chakra,the terrible discus that Rama finally flings at Ravana,the 
swastika, the only cross in the catacombs. In hoc signo vinces. 

Another point is of the highest importance. We now 
know how the Indian seeks to gain psychic powers. The 
process is simply by the will-power of the yogi developed 
patiently in solitude. All concomitants, magic stars and 
talismans, food offerings and scent offerings to spirits, are non- 

2 A 


essential, although perhaps the complete discernment of this 
truth may be due to Mesmer or some other modern investi 
gator. The story of Rama is the simple story of a mystic 
practising yoga under a tree. The battles and sieges are 
mere symbol, and in the Buddhist version for the Buddhists 
have made Rama an avatara of Buddha are omitted. The 
pilgrimage to Chitra Kuta is not yoga, but the histrionics of 
yoga. It stands to reason that thirty thousand people 
spending a week in visiting holy fig-trees, holy ghauts, the 
successive spots where Rama developed his powers, would 
not be thirty thousand adepts at the end of the week, although 
it might be argued that the pilgrimage was an institution use 
ful in suggesting, and also in concealing psychic knowledge. 
Now at Eleusis we get not yoga, but simply the pilgrimage 
presentment of yoga. The mystics go to the fig-tree as a 
sight ; Rama sits under it for fifteen years. The Temple of 
Eleusis is said to have been built 1330 years before Christ, 
This gives a very early date to Rama, if he suggested the 
mysteries to Egypt as well as Greece. The worship of Rama 
survives, although its pedigree may be so stupendous. In 
1882, the Indian government, in collecting cholera statistics, 
discovered that three millions of pilgrims visited Allahabad 
for one festival in that year. More strange still is the fact 
that, although India throws such curious light on the distant 
past, no one hardly cares for these Indian subjects at all. 

I will here give an episode from the " Mahabharata." It 
gives the initiation of a simple ascetic, without the usual 
account of the conquest of evil propensities in the guise of 
mailed warriors. Utanka was a young Brahmin, dwelling in 
the forest with a guru, or spiritual guide, named Veda. The 
novice on these occasions has to choose a sort of patron god, 
like Rama or Krishna. He must then conceive his guru as 
an incarnation of the god, and perform the most menial offices 
to him. He must wash his feet and drink some of the water 
afterwards. He must offer him flowers and treat him as God 
Almighty walking on the earth. 



One day, a king visited Veda and made him Archbrahmin 
of the palace. Veda left Utanka in charge of the hermitage 
and departed. Whilst he was away, the wives of the guru 
each tempted him as Joseph was tempted by Potiphar s wife. 
In the same way, the pretty daughters of Mara try and dis 
tract the tapas of Buddha, and the phantom of Kotavi, the 
naked woman, tries to thwart Krishna. This ever-recurring 
incident in the great ordeal of the mystic may have been only 
psychological, as in the case of St. Augustine. When extasia 
supervenes it is well known that its visions often appeal thus 
grossly to the senses. But I cannot help thinking that when 
the great trial of the mystic became formalized into a scenic 
pantomime, this temptation by women was a prominent 
feature. Arjuna, in one episode of the " Mahabharata," is 
tempted in Indra s heaven by a beautiful Apsarasa. The 
woman in each case is man s lower nature. 

By-and-by Veda returns, and somehow discovers that his 
pupil has resisted temptation. He praises Utanka, and offers 
to put a term to his noviciate. Utanka is very happy with 
his guru, and asks leave to remain with him. Veda consents 
for a season. 

The higher initiation is introduced in this form. Veda 
orders his pupil to go and demand the earrings of the queen. 
As Libra in the account of the churning of the ocean is called 
the "Earrings of Aditi," the meaning of this is not far to 

" If you get them," says the guru, " you will gain supreme 
happiness. In what other way can you get it ? " 

Utanka departs for the palace. On his way he meets a 
gigantic being mounted on a Colossal bull. 

" Eat the dung of this beast, Utanka, and drink its urine," 
said the giant. 

" I cannot," replied the novice. 

" Your master, Veda, once did the same thing." 

This unsavoury initiation is still practised by Brahmins 
and the followers of Zarathustra. 

Utanka obeys. He then pursues his path and reaches the 


" Give me, O king," he says, " the earrings of the queen, 
as a present to my guru." 

" Enter the women s apartments, O holy man," replied the 
king, " and ask her yourself." 

Utanka enters the harem and searches everywhere. He 
cannot find the queen. 

" You have eaten flesh-meat, and your body is not pure," 
says the king in explanation. " That is why she is not visible." 

Utanka went out to perform the ceremonial of purification. 
He sate down on the ground facing the east. He washed his 
mouth, his feet, his hands. He drank three gulps of pure 
water. He returned to the queen s apartment. This time 
the queen was visible. 

" What are thy commands, O holy man ? " 

" My master desires the queen s earrings," said the novice. 

" He is a worthy Brahmin," said the queen graciously, 
" I cannot disoblige him." But in giving them, she cautioned 
him to beware of the serpent Takshaka. This serpent had 
a great desire to get the queen s earrings. 

Utanka returned home overjoyed with his new possession. 
Passing near a holy tank he thought it right to purify himself. 
A naked Brahmin was near, who apparently possessed great 
powers of yoga or magic, for he appeared and disappeared in 
a most marvellous manner. Utanka plunged into the water. 
The Brahmin seized the earrings and fled. It was the wily 
serpent Takshaka in disguise. 

Utanka sprung out of the water and pursued him. At 
the very moment that he was being overtaken, the Brahmin 
changed his form and became a serpent. Deftly he glided 
into a chasm in the earth. 

The chasm was a very narrow one. Utanka tried to 
enlarge it with his staff, but was baffled. Indra on his 
throne witnessed his discomfiture, and sent his celebrated 
thunderbolt to open up the gap. Utanka descended into a 
cavern. There he saw the palaces and towers of Kuru 
Kshetra, the subterranean city of the serpents. The mystic 
earrings of Aditi (the purity of Utanka s soul) were not to be 
recovered easily. In their quest he has time to take note of 

OSIRIS. 357 

the marvels of the mystic cavern. He sees two women 
weaving a veil, the one with white and the other with black 
threads. He sees a wheel with twelve spokes. He sees a 
man and a horse. He sings the following hymn : 

" Three hundred and sixty rays spring from the nave of 
this eternal wheel. Its movement is everlasting. To it are 
joined twenty-four lunar fortnights. Six youths [the six 
seasons] turn it for ever. 

" This woof is woven by two women, who have the forms 
of the univeVse. They weave for ever with black threads and 
white. Adoration to the god who holds the thunderbolt, to 
the slaughterer of Vritra, who wears a blue garment, and has 
Agni for a charger ! " 

The man on the horse hearing this hymn, says to Utanka, 
" I am pleased with your praise. I will grant you a boon." 

" Be pleased to make the serpents pass under my power," 
says the novice. 

" Blow under the crupper of my horse," says the man. 

Utanka obeys, and at once the snake palaces are over 
whelmed with terrific fire and smoke. Takshaka, in con 
sternation, offers the earrings to the novice. 

" Mount this horse," says the man. 

Utanka obeys, and is transported to the hut of his guru. 

That holy man explains to him the significance of the 
sights he has seen. The man on the bull is Indra. The 
cow dung is the immortal ichor. The man on the horse is 
Indra also ; and the horse Agni. The wheel with the twelve 
spokes is the year. The two women are Dhata and Vidhata ; 
the white threads days, and the black threads nights. He 
might have added that the cave is the pastes, the coffin, the 
dark half-year. It is the " Cave of Indra," of all Indian 
initiations, even the Buddhist. Takshaka, man s lower nature, 
is subdued by the flaming Garuda, the dove of the Kabbalists, 
the baptism of fire. To subject the serpent is the secret of 
all magic, says the Abbe Alphonse Louis Constant. 

I will here say a word about the secrets of the so-called 
" Theosophy." Some time back I earned considerable oppro 
brium from its votaries, by questioning the existence of Koot 


Hoomi, but I think it can be shown that his existence is more 
prejudicial to Theosophy, viewed as a school of mysticism, 
than his non-existence. 

In the year 1872, Madame Blavatsky earned her bread as 
a professional " medium." From a box, called a " cabinet," 
she could cause to issue a form with a beard and turban, the 
spirit, she affirmed, of a pirate who died more than two 
hundred years ago. In the year 1883, we find her at Adyar, 
in Madras. Again she has a box, which she calls this time 
a " shrine." Again a figure emerges with beard and turban. 
This time it is announced to be a " Buddhist " from Tibet, 
who some years back instructed Madame Blavatsky in the 
secrets of Esoteric Buddhism. She lived in Tibet for seven 
years under his roof. But she failed to notice in all these 
years that the Buddhist monks of Tibet do not wear long 
hair, but shave their heads. She failed also to remark that 
in climates like Lha Sa turbans are as little necessary as a 
parasol to a Greenlander. She failed also to notice that the 
language of Tibet is Tibetan, and not Chinese. She tells us 
in "Isis Unveiled," vol. ii. p. 59, that in Tibet Buddha, 
Dharma, and Sangha, are called " Fo, Fa, and Sengh." Our 
exoteric scholars tell us that Buddha is called Bchom-dan- 
hdas-Sangs-r-gyas, and Dharma and Sangha, T. Tchos and 
d Ge hdun. 

An interesting report has just been published by the 
Psychical Research Society (December, 1885). They sent 
out to India a gentleman named Hodgson to investigate 
certain veiy damaging revelations put forward by a Madame 
Coulomb and her husband, confederates of Madame Blavatsky. 
In this report, we see that " Tibet " was Madame Blavatsky s 
well-curtained bed-chamber at Adyar. This through a pierced 
wall and sliding panels furtively communicated with the 
interior of the " shrine." And through this " Esoteric " passage 
all the " Buddhism " was pushed. The letters of Koot Hoomi 
have been examined by Messrs. Netherclift and Sims, and 
pronounced to be all in the hand writing of Madame Blavatsky, 
the early ones unskilfully, the later ones skilfully disguised. 
The matter was plagiarized wholesale from a lecture on 

OSIRIS. 359 

spiritualism, by Professor Kiddle, in America, and from a 
French book of magic, by Eliphas Levi, a dash of Orientalism 
having been added from notes furnished by a somewhat 
illogical Brahmin, named Mr. Subba Row, 1 From this same 
"Tibet" issued the "astral form" of the Mahatma, seen by 
Mr. Sinnett, Mohini, and others. It was Mons. Coulomb, 
with false beard, turban, shoulders and mask, made up like 
the picture of the Mahatma within the "shrine." This 
picture was painted in America for Madame Blavatsky, who 
wanted an " ideal Hindoo." It was scarcely necessary for 
Mr. Edwin Arnold, in his recent visit to Ceylon, to get from 
the Buddhist high priest there a categorical statement that 
there were no Mahatmas in Tibet. More noteworthy is the 
statement that the atheism and nihilism of " Esoteric 
Buddhism " were unknown to him. 

I have said that the existence of Koot Hoomi is more pre 
judicial to theosophy than his non-existence. The object of 
Indian mysticism was to bridge the worlds of matter and 
spirit, and pilot the novice through the demoniac host which 
were believed to infest the mystic portals. This was to be 
effected, as in the case of Utanka, under the supervision of a 
flesh and blood guru. It was held that man s usefulness on 
earth could be thus inconceivably increased, for all knowledge 
of God must come from within, not from without. 

Theosophy proclaims the direct opposite of all this. It 
says that, owing to the danger from evil spirits, all yoga must 
be practised under the guidance of an adept in his "astral 
form." These adepts, owing to the gross aura of India are 
obliged to reside in Tibet. But how is this in any way union 
with the next world ? Koot Hoomi is a mortal. Moriah is a 
mortal. Their teaching is as rigid a mundane dogmatism as 
that of Bishop Proudie. And how can I tell that evil spirits 
are not personating Koot Hoomi or Moriah ? The phantom 
form of this last gentleman, conjured up from the " ideal 
Hindoo " of the American artist, is said to have appeared to 
many " Theosophists " in visions of the night. His gospel is 
a jumble of contradictions changed every day. Supposing 
1 See " Report Psyc. Res. Soc.," p. 274. 


after a long course of asceticism I see this vision, how can I 
tell that it is not an evil spirit personating the holy man ? 
Also, how can I tell which gospel I am to pick out of his 
basket ? 


Has any one ever puzzled over the fact that the only 
modern representatives of the initiates of the ancient mys 
teries should occupy themselves entirely with the practical 
business of the hodman and the builder. What is the con 
nection between the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and 
matter-of-fact mortar, T squares, trowels ? Mr. H. Melville, 
a Royal Arch Mason, in a work entitled " Veritas," has given 
us an answer to this question. Esoteric masonry occupied 
itself in reality with a temple built without any sound of 
hammer, axe, or tool of iron. 1 It was the temple in the skies, 
the Macro Kosmos in point of fact. And the true mason was 
seeking to construct the micro cosmos, the temple of the soul. 

"According to the grace of God, which is given unto 
me as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation." 2 It 
has been deduced from this passage that St. Paul was an 
initiate of these rites. Masonry has its fellow-craft mason 
and its royal arch. 

Modern researches are suggesting, as it seems to me, 
another point of contact between the trade of the builder and 
the trade of the astro-mystic. This even Mr. Melville has 
failed to see. The earliest astronomical instruments were the 
square, the level, the compass, the rule. By their aid a temple 
was oriented. This meant that important feast days, the 
periods of the sowing and reaping, could be thus accurately 
told by the stars. 

Recent writers have shown how much the Pleiades had to 
do with ancient rites and feasts. In Hesiod s day, corn was 
cut " when the Pleiades rise," and ploughing commenced when 
the Pleiades set. 3 These two periods were the occasion of the 
two great festivals of the old world. 4 The first observatory was 
1 i Kings vi. 7. 2 i Cor. iii. 10. 

3 J. F. Blake, "Astronomical Myths," p. 120. 4 Ibid, 115. 

OSIRIS. 361 

the temple of standing stones astronomically arranged. The 
dolmen, with its chamber of rough stones, is thought to be 
the first building of the cave-man in the plain. It imitates 
cave architecture. 

The primitive astronomy of the Chinese was able to 
obtain the solstitial and equinoctial points at the solstices by 
fixing on a horizontal platform a rule marking the point of 
sunrise, and another at night marking the point of sunset. 
A mean taken between these two lines would give the meri 
dian. But to get the two other cardinal points was the 
difficulty. Hence the importance of T squares, plummets, 
masonry secrets. The early priest was scientist as well as 
theologian, and the twelve unhewn stones an observatory. 

The story of Hiram Abif need not detain us long. He 
was the master-builder of Solomon s temple. It is recorded 
that three apprentices murdered him because he would not 
disclose the lost word. Hiram made three efforts to escape. 
He ran to the eastern gate of the temple and found himself 
confronted by an assassin. It will be recollected that Buddha 
made his first effort to escape from the material pleasures of 
the palace of summer by the eastern gate, and that he was 
there arrested by the old man. The second and third journeys 
of Hiram were from west to south and south to west, each 
arrested by an assassin. Buddha s journeys were by the 
southern and western gates, during which he encountered the 
sick man and the corpse. Hiram was then slaughtered, and 
the body was carried out by the northern gate and buried. 
The conspirators had at first been fifteen. Twelve had re 
pented, and much of the ritual of masonry goes on the dis 
covery of the body by these twelve craft masons. A sprig 
betrayed the secret, and they planted a sprig of acacia at the 
grave whilst they hurried away to inform King Solomon. 
That king had a sumptuous tomb prepared for the body as 
near the holy of holies in the temple as was permissible by 
Jewish law. 

Masonry is plainly a Jewish version of the mysteries, with 
Buddhism and Osiris worship superadded. It is, I think, an 
echo of the Therapeut secrecy and precautions. The entered 


apprentice, even in England, is stripped of his sovereigns, 
breast-pin, and watch. His eyes are blinded, and certain for 
malities which menace " stabbing and strangling " are gone 
through. Vows of secrecy, fidelity, and obedience are enacted 
obedience which must extend, if required, to the sacrifice 
of a son like that of Abraham. All this is Buddhist, although 
the gold and money is promptly returned, and marquesses and 
royal dukes are told that the vows of obedience will never be 
stretched so far as to force them to compass the overthrow 
of the House of Lords and the British Constitution. " Endow 
him with a competency of Thy divine Wisdom " is a portion 
of a prayer offered up, and it is explained to the aspirant that 
knowledge of self is the prime desideratum. " The light of a 
Master-Mason is darkness visible." l All these are profound 
mystical truths. 

The imaginary temple of Solomon has a royal arch made 
by two columns, Jachin and Boaz. Through this the fellow- 
craft mason must pass to become a master. Here we have 
another form of the Indian mysteries the zodiac divided 
into Jachin and Boaz, the black and white halves, at the feast 
of the Tree. The candidate pretends to fall dead to imitate 
Hiram s death, in England, but in some lodges he is placed in 
a tomb with a tree by it. 

In England, masonry is thought to be an unmeaning farce. 
Abroad, by clericals and republicans alike, masonry in its 
various forms is pronounced the most formidable force in 
Europe. Lord Beaconsfield declared that the secret societies 
and the papacy were the only two institutions endowed with 
permanency. It was introduced by James II. during his 
exile in France. It was designed to prop up the Stuart. 
Instead, it pulled down the Bourbon ; for its main principle 
is the apocalyptic maxim that the individual must be made 
a priest and a king. The Albigenses were masonic mystics. 
So were the Hussites. That it produced the Reformation is 
the belief of all clerical writers abroad. It is asserted that 
the discovery of the " Kabbalah " had spread mysticism and 
gnosticism. The Templars, leaving Europe to attack the 

1 Carlile, p. 9. > 

OSIRIS. 363 

Moslem, had returned with the secret tenets of the Sufis, 
which they again had derived from the Buddhists. In the 
fourteenth century, as Mons. Jannet has shown, numerous 
guilds and corporations existed, and mystic societies were in 
the heart of Catholicism. " Social order was attacked, and 
the legitimacy of political power, the rights of property, 
and the institution of the family. . . . The Albigenses bor 
rowed their grades and organization, as well as their doctrine, 
from the Freemasons." l 

In the matter of the French revolution the influence of 
Freemasonry was very great. Historians like Louis Blanc on 
the one side and the Pere Deschamps are there agreed. The 
Baron d Haugwitz, at the Congress of Verona, used these 
words : " I acquired then a firm conviction that the drama 
which commenced in 1788 and 1789, the French Revolution, 
the regicide, and all its horrors had not only been resolved in 
the lodges of the illuminati, but was due to the association 
and oaths of the Freemasons." 2 Mirabeau was sent in the 
year 1785 on a diplomatic mission to Prussia. There he was 
initiated in German illuminism. He brought the institution 
to France, and five hundred lodges were promptly formed. 
The famous lodge of Les Amis Reunis in Paris had all the 
chief agents of the revolution on its lists, Robespierre, Barnave, 
Petion, Talleyrand, etc. It was debated whether the great 
explosion should occur in Germany or France, and decided 
for the latter country. 3 

In the days of Wieshaupt and the illuminati of Germany 
a striking scene was enacted. The novice who had been 
brought in blindfolded, was shown an altar on which was a 
sceptre and crown, some gold pieces, and some valuable jewels. 
Above was a picture of the " Founder of Illuminism " an 
Ecce Homo that was solemnly unveiled. 

" Here are the attributes of virtue," cried the Grand Master 
"here are the attributes of tyranny. Choose!" It was 
explained to the aspirant that the masked brothers around 
were quite competent to push his career for him in court or 

1 C. Jannet, " Les Socie te s Secretes," p. 51. 

2 Ibid., p. 74. 3 Ibid., p. 69. 


camp. It was explained also to him that the aim of the 
society, "the Family of the Human Race," was very far- 
reaching, and exacted extremes of devotion and self-denial. 
It was directed against all despotism and class-privileges, 
secular and religious. 1 

1 Victor Huriot, " Mysteres des Societe s Secretes." 

( 365 ) 



AFTER a dispensation or Day of Brahma has continued a 
certain time, says the " Vishnu Purana," the human race 
deteriorates. Kings despoil their subjects instead of pro 
tecting them. " Property alone confers rank. Wealth is the 
only source of devotion. Passion is- the sole bond of union 
between the sexes. . . . Dishonesty is the universal means of 
subsistence. Fine clothes are dignity. The Brahminical 
thread makes the Brahmin. Presumption is substituted for 
learning." Treasures are sought, not at the shrines of the 
immortal dead, but in the bowels of the earth. But when 
the prospect is blackest the relief is at hand. The two first 
stars of the seven rishis (the Great Bear) are seen at night in 
the heavens with a certain lunar asterism between them, and 
then the star-gazers are made aware that the Deliverer is 
about to be born. 1 The nineteenth century should begin to 
watch the Great Bear. 

Once upon a time the world groaned with the oppressions 
of a demon Kalanemi, who was incarnate as King Kansa. 
In this strait, Earth repaired to Meru, and laid her complaint 
before Brahma. That god pronounced that Vishnu should be 
appealed to. Is it not a well-known fact that when his sacred 
feet have touched the earth, that globe is at peace for a hundred 
mystic years ? 2 

The Avatara of Krishna was in this wise. In Mathura 
(the modern Muttra) was a nobleman named Vasudeva, who 
had two wives, Devaki and Rohini. Vishnu plucked two of 

1 Wilson, " Vishnu Purana," pp. 482-487. 2 Ibid., p. 485. 


his hairs, a black one and a white one. From that black one 
sprang up, in the womb of Devaki, Krishna, The Black One, 
as his name signifies. From the white hair, in the womb of 
Rohini, Bala Rama (the boy Rama) was conceived. Now, 
the special sign of Krishna and Vishnu, is a holy emblem on 
the breast formed by curling hair. It is called the srivatsa 
(holy breast, holy mark). I think this is plainly a later form 
of the swastika cross, the symbol of the commencing 
year. And the two hairs are the two principles 
heaven and earth the higher and the lower life 
that the Narayana, or god-man unites., 
A king of asuras, or spirits of darkness, has at his court 
Brahmins, soothsayers, and other holy institutions, just like 
a king of the spirits of light. Conspicuous at the court of 
King Kansa was a holy saint named Narada. This seer, by 
his mystic insight, was able to discern that the son of Devaki 
would one day overturn King Kansa. The monarch, hearing 
this, was in a fury, and determined to destroy the child. He 
flung Devaki into a dungeon, awaiting the infant s birth. At 
midnight one evening the child was born. It had four arms 
and the mystic mark, srivatsa, on its breast. Vasudeva 
begged the baby to veil his supernal " four-armed shape." 
He addressed him : " God of gods, who comprisest all the 
regions of the world in thy person ! " 

From this it appears that the four cardinal points were 
the express symbols to distinguish the universal from the 
anthropomorphic god. 

A mystic sleep, called yoganidra (the magic sleep of yoga), 
is cast upon the jailers and warders of the great gate of Ma- 
thura by unseen agencies. This yoganidra must have been a 
sort of mesmeric trance. The holy infant is then carried out 
of the prison and the city. The dew being heavy, a portent 
occurred. A many-headed serpent, the mighty Sesha, spread 
out its hoods to shield the four-armed divinity. A similar por 
tent occurred to Buddha. A nimbus of serpent heads is a 
divine symbol in all the old Hindu temples and Buddhist topes. 
On this particular night, on the banks of the Yamuna, 
or Jumna, was a poor cowherd, Nanda, and his wife Yasoda. 


They were asleep on the cold ground under a waggon, after 
a weary journey. Nanda was bringing tribute to Kansa. 
Yasoda had just been confined. Babies were shifted, and 
the infant Krishna, " black as the dark leaves of the lotus," 
was placed by her side. In the morning, the infant of 
Yasoda was seized by the jailers and handed over to the 
delighted Kansa. He dashed it against a stone, but it 
changed into a gigantic being. 

" He is born who shall kill thee ! " said the apparition 
solemnly, and it vanished in the heavens. Kansa, alarmed, 
like Herod, ordered all the male children of Mathura to be 
put to death, but Krishna escaped with his putative father, 
Nanda. This poor cowherd dwelt at the village of Gokula. 

One night, the infant had a terrible adventure. A wicked 
fiend, Putana, tried to suckle it with her poisonous nipples. 
The infant drained the life out of her. Diseases in the old 
days were all believed to be the work of individual fiends ; 
so Yasoda, alarmed, fenced about the little infant with many 
charms. She swished a cow tail over him. She placed 
powdered cow-dung on his head. She bound round his arm 
a raksha or amulet. It was the following inscription tied 
with silk : 

" May Hari from the lotus, of whose navel the world was 
developed, protect thee ! May that Kesava, who assumed 
the form of a boar, protect thee. May that Kesava who, as 
the man-lion, rent with his sharp nails the bosom of his foe, 
protect thee. May Garuda l guard thy head ; Kesava thy 
neck ; Vishnu thy belly ; Janarddana thy legs and feet ; the 
eternal and irresistible Narayana, thy face, thine arms, thy 
mind, thy faculties of sense. May all ghosts, goblins, and 
spirits unfriendly ever fly thee, appalled by the quoit, mace, 
arid sword of Vishnu, and the echo of his shell." 

The ancients believed that diseases were the obsession by 
fiends, and different parts of the body had to be separately 
protected. Similar amulets to that of poor Yasoda were called 
" knots," in ancient Babylonia. 

" Knot, bind the head of the sick man, bind his forehead, 

1 These are all synonyms of Vishnu. 


bind the seat of his life," etc., says an ancient formula. 1 
M. Lenormant points out that the phylacteries of the Pharisees 
and the " knots " patronized by mediaeval duchesses were of 
the same pattern. 

To differentiate Indian mythology and pure history is 
difficult. In the view of Indian scholars there was a real 
Krishna, a conqueror who enlarged the domains of the Aryas 
by victories over the aborigines, who figure always in Indian 
legends as giants and fiends. Mr. Garrett, in his excellent 
dictionary, fixes his date at the time when " the Aryans were 
still a nomad people, pasturing their herds of cattle at the 
foot of the Himalaya range and in the plains of the Punjab." 
The movement was towards " the interior and east " from the 
north-western corner of the peninsula. 2 

This geography would place him before Rama and the 
sons of Pandu. It is significant that Krishna differs from the 
other incarnations in not being of royal birth. The story of 
the baby being found close to the waggon of a cowherd 
means, of course, that he was a peasant. 

Krishna and his brother Balarama grow up amongst the 
cowherds. Their infant sports are a never-ending popular 
theme in modern India. When they were quite tiny they 
" began to crawl about the ground, supporting themselves on 
their hands and knees, and creeping everywhere, often amidst 
ashes and filth. Neither Rohini nor Yasoda was able to 
prevent them from getting into the cow-pens or amongst the 
calves, where they amused themselves by pulling their tails." 3 
On one occasion, the infant Krishna, being tied as a punish 
ment to the mortar with which the Indians bruise unwinnowed 
corn, pulled it along with him against two large trees, over 
turning both in the process. On another occasion he upset 
the waggon which in those pastoral times seems to have 
been the paternal dwelling. By-and-by, the little colony 
emigrated to a pastoral district of Mathura, called Vrindavana, 
where " new grass springs up even in the hot weather." Here 

1 Lenormant, " La Magie Chaldidnne," pp. 39, 43. 

2 Garrett, sub voce Krishna. 

3 Wilson, "Vishnu Parana," chap. v. 



the two boys romped in the forests. They made themselves 
crests of the peacocks plumes, and garlands of forest flowers, 
and musical instruments of leaves and reeds. They piped to 
the cowherds. They sang in chorus and danced together. 
Sometimes they stained themselves of various hues with the 
minerals of the mountain. On his head each boy wore the 
Kaka-paksha, 1 or the hair trimmed like the outspread wings 
of a flying crow. The bird Garuda typifies spiritual light 
and fire. 

In a pool on the Yamuna, near Vrindavana, was a terrible 
water serpent. Its name was Kaliya, and it made the water 
poisonous to men and cattle. Young Krishna, reflecting that 
as the bird Garuda he had once before vanquished this snake, 
determined again to attack it. Climbing a kadamba tree, he 
leaped boldly into the pool. Immediately he was attacked 
by a vast number of serpents, male and female. They coiled 
themselves round every limb, and bit fiercely with their 
poisonous fangs. Nanda and Yasoda and the young gopis 
(cow-girls) wept bitter tears 

" Without Hari the forest will lose its delight. We have 
listened to his music, and now the serpents will kill him. Let 
us all plunge likewise into the fearful pool of the serpent king." 

But Balarama, listening to the words of the cow-girls, and 
seeing the cowherds themselves pale with terror on the bank, 
was filled with disdain. He at once " reminded " Krishna 
of his " real character," as the " Vishnu Purana " somewhat 
quaintly puts it. 

" God of gods, the quality of mortal is sufficiently assumed. 
Thou art the centre of creation, as the nave is of the spokes 
of a wheel. The gods, to partake of thy pastimes as man, 
have all descended in disguise. The goddesses have come 
down to Gokula to join in thy sports. Disregard not these 
sorrowing divinities, the cowherds and cow-girls, thy kith and 
kin. Thou hast put on the character of man. Thou hast 
exhibited the tricks of childhood. Subdue this fierce snake." 
Krishna obeyed. 

The "fierce Kesin " was a demon haunting the woods of 

1 Wilson, " Vishnu Purana," p. 510. 

2 B 


Vrindavana. Kansa, alarmed at the death of Putana and 
other prodigies, sent him against the two divine boys. He 
assumed the form of a horse, " spurning the earth with his 
hoofs, scattering the clouds with his mane, and springing in 
his paces beyond the orbits of the sun and moon." The cow 
herds and their wives, hearing his neighing, fled to Krishna 
for protection. 

" Away with these fears of Kesin," said the young hero. 
" He is but a galloping steed, ridden by the strength of the 
Daityas. His neighing is his only terror ! " 

The fierce steed galloped at Krishna with his mouth wide 
open. Krishna thrust his arm in it and tore out his teeth, as 
the wielder of the trident tore out the teeth of Pushan. The 
arm in the throat of the demon now enlarged, like a malady 
that grows and grows and ends in death. From his torn lips 
the demon vomited foam and blood. He was rent asunder 
by the arm of Krishna as a tree is rent by the lightning s 
flash. The cowherds were delighted, and Narada the Brahmin, 
invisible, seated on a cloud, exclaimed, " Well done, Lord of 
the Universe, thou hast destroyed Kesin, the oppressor of the 
denizens of heaven. Thou shalt be called the Slayer" (Kesa 
va) ! 1 After the fight Krishna returned to Gokula, the " sole 
object of the eyes of the women of Vraja." 

Krishna had another adventure. This was with the demon 
Arishta, disguised as a savage bull. "His colour was that 
of a cloud charged with rain. He had vast horns. His eyes 
were like two fiery suns. As he moved, he ploughed up the 
ground with his hoofs. His tail was erect." The hump, 
which is a feature of Indian cattle, was enormous. Many 
hermits in the forest had fallen victims to his fierce rage. 

Seeing Krishna, the fierce beast charged him with lowered 
horns. Krishna seized them deftly, and with gigantic strength 
tore them off. He beat the demon with them till he died. 
He pressed the bull with his knees. This feat reminded the 

1 Professor Wilson questions the etymology of Narada, and gives 
" He of the hair " (Kesa) as the correct derivation. As the old Indians 
loved verbal quips, they perhaps had both root-words in view (" Vishnu 
Purina," p. 540). 


herdsmen of Indra triumphing over the Asura Jambha. 
Other feats were performed by this young boy. 

Whatever the respective dates of the three great Indian 
legends, I think that an attempt has been made to blend 
them into one harmonious whole. Having taken the aspects 
of Nature as a great symbol of God, the Brahmins have tried 
to make Rama s story specially deal with the autumn of life, 
Yudhishthira s with summer and kingship, Krishna s with 
youth and spring. This last is quite proved by the kalendar. 
With Indian genius, as with Sanzio and Fra Angelico, the 
child god is the favourite idea expressed. Krishna is drawn 
suckling, or sprawling with playthings, or strangling a snake 
whilst yet a baby. But at one point the Christ and the 
Krishna palpably diverge. The Brahmins were plainly of 
idea that God considered as Nature could never be fully 
drawn unless the element of adult love was added. There is 
the Bala Krishna, or child Krishna, but there is also a Krishna 
arrived at puberty. 

Krishna s celebrated dalliance with the milkmaids has 
been pronounced unchaste by missionaries, and been glossed 
over by some writers. Thus Miss Gordon Gumming suggests 
that when he hid their clothes when they were bathing he 
wished to read them a lesson of modesty. 

I think both sets of writers fail to read the legend aright. 
The mystic cows of the Brahmin religion and the milkmaids 
are one, and we know from the " Mahabharata " that these cows 
are the days of the year. The sun-god in his yearly course 
lights up each in succession. " The drops of perspiration 
from Krishna s arms were like the fertilizing rain," says the 
" Vishnu Purana." That Krishna s love has been pronounced 
platonic by so many readers shows that the subject has been 
treated with great delicacy. 

In spring the air is perfumed with the white water-lily and 
the bees murmur. At this time Krishna and his brother 
sang sweet strains in various measures such as the women 
love. The milkmaids came forth from their huts. One sang 
a gentle accompaniment to the song. Another listened, a 
third called out his name, and then shrunk abashed. One 


girl, afraid of her father and mother, dared not come out, but 
meditated on Krishna with closed eyes, and emancipated 
herself from her lower nature. Some imaged him as the 
" Supreme Brahma," and obtained final emancipation. One 
fine moonlight night, the milkmaids and the god indulged in 
a pretty dance, the celebrated Rasa dance (" speech dance," 
" chain dance.") 

In this dance, the girls form a ring and a phantom Krishna 
is at the side of each. The pretty comedians then personate 
the god. One pretends to hold up the mountain Govard- 
dhana. Another makes believe to pipe, a third sings. One 
slaps her round brown arms like a wrestler and challenges the 
serpent Kaliya with a quite imposing defiance. One affects 
to see the footprints of the god and a particular milkmaid on 
the ground, and pouts with pretty jealousy. Then one shows 
her rapture that Krishna is by her ; another her despair 
because she is abandoned. One mimics the higher happiness 
of the rishi who, with closed eyes dreams of the formless 
Vishnu. Bracelets jingle and round arms are flung aloft till at 
last all the poor girls, abandoned, feel that they can only sing 
Krishna s songs to the sound of the Vina and the musical 
sing-song of the women. 

This dance was a temple dance when the Babylonian 
women wept for Tammuz, and probably many hundred years 
before. The chain represents the year and the girls the days. 
The sun-god visits each in turn. 

The name of one milkmaid, Radha, has been studiously 
kept out of the Puranas, but tradition has been too powerful. 
One night in the rainy season, Krishna, a wanderer, received 
shelter from one Nanda, a cowherd, and the cowherd s daughter 
became his mistress. Their lives are still sung in every 
bazaar. 1 The sculptures too of the temple of Jagannatha, 
Krishna s temple in Orissa, are said to make plain the nature 
of Krishna s dalliance with the milkmaids. 2 

King Kansa having been unsuccessful with his zodiacal 
horse and his bull, determines to slaughter Krishna with a 

1 See " Gita Govinda " and Tod s " Rajesthan," vol. i. p. 540. 

2 " Garrett s " Dictionary," sub voce " Jagannatha." 


famous brace of athletes, and bids him in consequence to a 
great summer festival. Akrura is his messenger. When the 
poor milkmaids hear that Govinda, the divine cowherd as 
they call him, is going to leave them, they weep bitter tears. 
The dames of Mathura are proud and seductive. The divine 
cowherd is a rustic. " Their smiles and airs and meaning; 


glances will turn him from us. Bright is the morning for the 
women of Mathura, for the bees of their eyes will feed upon 
his lotus face. Delicious will be the great festival, for they 
will see Krishna. Brahma has given us a great treasure. 
He takes it away and we are blind. Despair shrivels our 
beauty and makes our bracelets slip from shrunken limbs." 

Akrura was possessed of the Syamantika gem (the higher 
initiation). On the journey he went down to the river for the 
Sandhya or noonday rite. He threw himself into the Dhyana 
or mystic reverie, and saw Krishna transfigured before him. 
Lightnings flashed as from a dark cloud. His body was 
changed. The mystic four arms held the four great symbols. 
The srivatsa or mystic cross was on his breast. A gem was 
on his brow, and the whitest of lotuses on his head. Emerging 
from the water, the Akrura was astonished to see the brothers 
in their car, sitting like ordinary mortals. Again he went 
into the stream, and again the phantasmal body of Krishna 
visited him there. The holy man became convinced that 
Balarama was Sesha, the mighty serpent that supports the 
Kosmos, and Krishna was the " the supreme Brahma, eternal, 
unchangeable, uncreated." 

Upon entering, Mathura, the divine cowherd, met a de 
formed girl, Kubja. She was carrying a pot of precious 

" Fair girl," said Krishna, " give me of that ointment, the 
ointment of kings." 

" Take it," said Kubja. Krishna smeared his body with 
the Brakticheda anointing. This means that he put on the 
various mystic nose, cheek, breast, and arm marks of the 
followers of Vishnu, and the celebrated tridentine streaks on 
the forehead. They symbolize Vishnu s three steps. 

Then Krishna, who had the power of healing by touch, 


put his thumb and two fingers under the deformed girl s chin 
and made her straight and beautiful. 

The festival of King Kansa was very like similar festivals 
in the other epics. Pavilions, and tents, and platforms were 
erected. They were decorated with pictures, and garlands, 
and flags, and statues. Aromatic scents were everywhere. 
The octagonal columns that were put up for the horse sacrifice 
in the Ramayana, were here likewise. The pavilions had 
each seven roofs, supported on four posts. Professor Wilson 
thinks that they must have been of the pattern of Chinese 
pagodas. 1 Coloured awnings, and carpets, and silks, and 
pretty women animated the scene. They were allowed to 
appear, as in the " Mahabharata," without curtains or conceal 
ment. 2 Drinks were prepared for the common people, and a 
phrase that may mean "viands" is used. 8 This would carry the 
legend to days before Asoka, the Buddhist, forbade flesh meat 

Krishna, like Rama, breaks the bow that no one can bend. 
He and his brother then confront the two great athletes, 
Chanura and Mushtika. At the sight of these strong men, 
Devaki mourns for her son, and fears that she will never see 
his lovely face again. The courtesans, too, under the bright 
awnings, cry out, Alas ! The graceful, though light frame of 
the young cowherd, as he tightened his girdle and danced in 
the arena, had earned him their sympathies. As he slapped 
his arms in defiance to the mighty Chanura, all the women 
said, " How can the delicate form of Hari, the blue one, 
oppose that great giant ? " 

The Indians are unrivalled wrestlers. Officers who have 
learnt their grips have shone against English athletes. The 
fight between Chanura and Krishna has found an expert for 
a historian. " Mutual grips," " interlacing arms," " inter 
twining the whole body," " pulling forwards," " pushing back ; " 
these and a dozen other stratagems are detailed in long 
Sanskrit words. By-and-by, the wreath of flowers on Cha- 
nura s head began to quiver, and his mighty strength to wane. 
At last Krishna lifted up his adversary and dashed him to the 
ground. His soul fled, and Balarama disposed of the other 
1 "Vishnu Purina," p. 554. 2 Ibid., p. 555. 3 Ibid., p. 554, note. 


wrestler. Then the two brothers danced in the arena in the 
Indian manner. 

King Kansa was terribly incensed. He gave orders that 
Vasudeva should be horribly tortured, and Nanda, Krishna, 
and Balarama seized. Krishna came to the defence of his 
kinsmen, and jumped up and dragged Kansa out of his regal 
pavilion. He knocked off his tiara, squeezed him to death, 
and dragged his body across the sand in the middle of the 
arena. It was furrowed as by a watercourse. He released 
Ugrasena, the father of Kansa, from prison, and placed him 
on the throne. A Brahmin, Sandipani, was told off to instruct 
the youths in arms and magic. For a fee, Krishna promised to 
raise his son from the dead. He had been drowned when 
bathing at the celebrated temple of Somnath, in Guzerat 
A terrible demon, named Panchajana, who was in the form of 
a conch-shell, had swallowed him. Krishna plunged in the 
sea and rescued the boy. He slew the marine monster and 
made a conch-shell out of his bones. This is his celebrated 
Sankha, whose " sound fills demon hosts with dismay." 

The great modern festival of Krishna, in India, takes 
place in Gemini-Cancer. Hence, the two wrestlers slaughtered 
by the two twins of the new year. The images of Krishna 
and his brother Balarama, in the great Temple of Jagganatha, 
in Orissa, have arms uplifted to form the Buddhist trisul. 

This explains the upraising of the mountain Govard-dhana. 
Krishna is stambha, the Kosmos-supporter. Kansa is the 
Kosmos-supporter of the preceding year. Opposite Gemini 
is the arrow, and opposite Cancer the marine monster with 
the elephant in his mouth. Hence the incident of the bow, 
and the monster like a shell. 

King Jarasandha (who figures likewise in the " Mahabha- 
rata ") was the father-in-law of King Kansa. Incensed at the 
death of the king, he marched from his capital, Magadha, with 
forty-six million fighting men. The men of Mathura were 
besieged ; but Krishna, with the "bow of Hari," the magic 
double quiver, and the mace Kaumodaki, did prodigies of 
valour. He had recourse to the four strategic devices- 
bribery, negotiation, dissension, and chastisement. A feigned 


retreat is mentioned as another device. 1 " It was the pastime 
of the Lord of the Universe, in his capacity of man, to launch 
various weapons against his enemies." 

After the defeat of Jarasandha, a Greco-Bactrian king, 
Kalayavana, whose " breast was as hard as the point of the 
thunderbolt," marched against Mathura. Krishna, reflecting 
that the Yudavas were much weakened by their long campaign 
against the king of Magadha, retreated westward, some six 
hundred miles to the sea. At the extremity of the peninsula 
of Guzerat, he begged from ocean twelve furlongs, and thereon 
constructed the city of Dwaraka. Ramparts and gardens, 
and tanks and buildings, made this city like Amaravati, the 
city of Indra. In this city he placed the inhabitants of 
Mathura. Kalayavana was enticed into a cavern and killed by 
Muchukunda ; and all his horses, and elephants, and chariots 
handed over to the men of Dwaraka. 

By the sounding sea, a shrine, called " Krishna s Shrine," is 
all that modern pilgrims can see of ancient Dwaraka. Mean 
while Krishna runs away with the beautiful Ruckmini. A 
more difficult task is before him to gain the earrings of Aditi, 
the celestial virgin, like Utanka in the former legend. 

There is a fine hymn to Aditi in the " Vishnu Purana," 
which runs partly thus : 

Matter thou art unwelded and eternal ; 

And in the gloom 
The Lord of gods celestial, and infernal, 

Lay in thy womb. 

Then wert thou Speech ! The voice of the immortals, 

O Aditi, 
Whispers to man through the well-guarded portals 

Whispers through thee ! 

By thee the world was fashioned from the waters, 

At Brahma s call ; 
The stars of heaven are thy shining daughters, 

Mother of all ! 

1 According to the " Mahabharata," Krishna was driven westward by 


In pursuit of his great task, Krishna calls to his aid the 
" eater of serpents," the bird Garuda. He mounts his back 
and proceeds to the city of King Naraka, which was defended 
by nooses with edges sharp as razors. Krishna, with the aid 
of his terrible discus, cuts in pieces the nooses, disperses the 
dark legions of the king, and slaughters that monarch. He 
lets loose sixteen thousand one hundred damsels, and comes 
back through the skies on Garuda, bringing the earrings of 
Aditi and the other treasures. The sixteen thousand one 
hundred damsels enter the hero s zenana. 

Krishna had a wife named Satyabhama, who desired to 
have the celebrated Parijata Tree (tree of life). This blooms 
in Paradise. Its bark is of gold. Its leaves of a rich copper 
colour. Its fruit is delicious. 

" Why," said the queen, " should not this divine tree be 
transported to Dwaraka ? If I am really dear to you, fetch 
it. You say neither Ruckmini nor Jambavati are so dear to 
you as I am. If this is not mere flattery, bring the tree 
from heaven and let me wear its flowers in the braids of my 
hair ! " 

Krishna having to return the earrings of Aditi to the 
universal mother, thought this would be a good opportunity 
to seize the Parijata Tree. He hurried to Swarga, the Indian 
Paradise, on the back of Garuda. He presented the earrings 
to their owner. He then seized the Parijata Tree and carried 
it off. Indra, indignant, attacked him with the heavenly 
legions, but Krishna triumphed. The Parijata Tree is another 
name for Virgo. And the episode is also brought in to exalt 
the Vishnu worship over the more ancient Indra worship. 

The abundant imagery of the Scales being exhausted, let 
us now see whether a character with a superfluity of arms 
appears upon the scene. Krishna had a grandson, Aniruddh a. 
A girl, Usha, saw him in a dream. She became melancholy, 
and at last gave up her secret to a confidante. This lady 
being possessed of magic powers, inveigled Aniruddha to the 
court of the girl s father, King Bana. 

King Bana had for a patron deity the god with three eyes. 
This is Rudra or Siva. He was possessed also of a thousand 


arms ; and he prayed to Rudra, saying, " Peace is not good 
for a monarch with a thousand arms, give me war ! " 

" When thy peacock banner shall break," said the god, 
"thou shalt have that war that delights the wicked spirits 
that feed on the flesh of man ! " 

Krishna, hearing of the captivity of his grandson, started 
off with his brother and Garuda. As he neared the court of 
King Bana, the "spirits that attend on Rudra" opposed him, 
but he vanquished them. Then Mighty Fever, an emanation 
from Rudra, having three feet and three heads, barred his 
path and afflicted Balarama with a burning heat, who clung 
to Krishna for help. Anticipating Hahnemann, the "fever 
emanating from Siva was quickly expelled from the person 
of Krishna by fever which he himself engendered." Krishna 
next overcame the five fires. Then Rudra in person, with the 
Indian Mars on his right hand, advanced to protect Bana. 
Kartikeya, the war-god, was born of six nymphs, the six 
Krittikas (the Pleiades). Rudra was defeated by Krishna, 
and Kartikeya by Balarama. Bana then, in his mighty car, 
advanced into the thick of the fight. He and Krishna shot 
arrow after arrow at each other, and blood flowed from both. 
At length, the Blue One took up the terrible discus that 
nothing can resist. As he was about to hurl the great chakra, 
a phantom appeared before him and veiled Bana from his 
sight. This was the naked woman, Kotavi. Undeterred by 
the apparition, Krishna hurled the discus and lopped off in 
succession all the arms of Bana. Rudra here interceded, and 
Bana was spared. 

The great value of the Purana legend is the bold way 
in which the inner teaching is blurted out. In the circle of 
twelve stones, one in spring and one in autumn represented 
Rudra, and these were worshipped according to the position 
of the Pleiades. Thus Rudra, Siva, and Kartikeya, the son 
of the Pleiades, figure without much disguise, and so does Bana 
with his thousand arms. Bana is spared, for the quaint reason 
that Krishna confesses that Rudra and Vishnu are one and the 
same person. The Indian triad is not three individualities, 
but three aspects of one God. Brahma creates, Vishnu pre- 


serves, Siva destroys. The year is a day of Brahma in 
miniature, and Brahma is the four months of spring, Vishnu 
the four months of summer, Siva the four months of winter. 

Other adventures occur to the two brothers. Paundraka 
assumes the insignia and style of Krishna. He is supported 
by the King of Benares. Krishna attacks them and sets 
Benares on fire with his discus. Balarama kills the Asuru 
Dwivida, in*the form of an ape. 

The incidents of this portion of the legend, the five fires, 
the bird Garuda, the Parijata Tree, Bana or Rudra, typify the 
struggle of the devotee with his lower nature. The serpent 
Sesha issues from the mouth of Rama. This is one form of 
the elephant issuing from the mouth of the sea-monster 
Makara. The ape incident is fresh proof, I think, that Cancer 
was once an ape. 

Krishna now determines to practise yoga, or the initiation 
of the mystic. He sat under a tree meditating on the 
Supreme God. There is an attitude known to the higher 
initiates, the left leg is laid across the right thigh, and the sole 
of the foot is turned outwards. Buddha constantly figures 
thus in the sculptures. It is called, I think, the swastika 
attitude. Krishna was seated thus when a huntsman, Jara, 
mistook his foot for a deer, and fired an arrow at it tipped 
with iron from the celebrated club kaumaudaki. At this 
particular instant Krishna had solved the riddle of the uni 
verse, and merged his spirit into that of the universal Brahma. 

When Buddhism was expelled from India in the seventh 
century A.D. the modern religion of Vishnu, a form of 
Buddhism, stepped into its place, and as India was then 
vegetarian and water-drinking, accommodated itself to cir 
cumstances. But if the present religion of Vishnu is modern, 
I think the actual story of Krishna very ancient. Krishna 
is a fighting herdsman. His virtues and his vices belong to 
a rude society. He treats woman as a spoil of war. He 
is brave, but cunning and cruel. The question of geo 
graphy is also important. Rama s chief adventures are 
about Oude and the valley of the Ganges. Krishna, on 
the other hand, is born not far from the famous land of 



the seven rivers of the earlier Aryas. Indeed, his tribe 
is pushed westwards by the incursions of fresh hordes from 
Bactria. All the local colour of the legend is in keeping. 
We see nomad herdsmen sleeping under their bullock carts, 
and under the pressure of prolific neighbours wresting fresh 
pastures from the earlier races. Both legends were probably 
sung in short ballads by the people long before they were 
elaborated. And the legend of Krishna has one immense 
advantage over that of Rama, his death is described. His 
body is left on a tree to be devoured by carrion, an Aryan 
custom of the date of Zarathustra s secession. His relics are 
prized, and traditions of a Kshetra being built over them are 
preserved. We hear nothing of Rama s dead body. This is 
suspicious. The body of a genuine historical hero or saint 
was more prized after death than in life. 

The story of Krishna is made very modern by writers 
who subordinate philology to theology. Thus a writer, Dr. 
Lorinser, has written an elaborate work to maintain that the 
idea of Krishna is plagiarized from Christianity. In parallel 
columns he shows the identity of much of the teachings of 
the " Bhagavad Gita " with that of the New Testament, and 
notably of the Fourth Gospel. I have only room for a few 
of these citations. 

They who honour me are in me 
and I in them. 

I am the origin of all. From 
me everything proceeds. 

I am the beginning, middle, and 
end of all things. 

Among letters I am A. 

From all sins will I free them. 
Be not sorrowful. 
No one knows me. 

Dwelling in the heart of every 

They who eat of the immortal 
food of the sacrifice pass into the 
eternal Brahma. 

Dwelleth in Me, and I in him 
(John vi. 56). 

For of Him, and through Him, 
and to Him, are all things (Rom. 
xi. 36). 

I am the first and the last (Rev. 

i- i7). 

I am Alpha and Omega (Rev. 
i. 8). 

Be of good cheer. Thy sins be 
forgiven thee (Matt. ix. 2). 

No man hath seen God at any 
time (John i. 18). 

Sanctify the Lord God in your 
hearts (i Pet. iii. 15). 

I am the living bread which 
came down from heaven. If any 
man eat of this bread he shall live 
for ever (John vi. 51). 


Dead in me. For ye are dead, and your life 

is hid with Christ in God (Col. 
iii. 2). 

As opposed to this, an intelligent native convert, the Rev. 
K. M. Banerjea, chaplain to the Bishop of Calcutta, has 
shown how unwise it is to tell the natives of India that their 
creeds are all borrowed from Christianity. He shows that the 
ideas of the Incarnation, of Christ as the Creator of heaven 
and earth, and of Christ offered up as a sacrifice for the whole 
world, are familiar to all Hindoos in books admitted now 
to be long anterior to the Bible. 1 Let us listen to the " Rig 

" Hiranyagarbha arose in the beginning. Born he was 
the one Lord of all things existing. He established the earth 
and the sky. To what god shall we offer our oblation ? 

" He who gives breath, who gives strength, whose commands 
all, even the gods, reverence, whose shadow is immortality, 
whose shadow is death. To what God shall we offer our 
oblation ? . . . 

"Prajapati, no other than thou is lord over all these created 
things. To what God shall we offer our oblation ? " 

Mr. Banerjea shows that Prajapati or Purusha, is the 
divine Man, like Christ ; that he is the Lord of a kalpa or 
dispensation the maker of heaven and earth. Dr. Muir, too, 
has shown that many of the phrases which Dr. Lorinser 
imagines to have been taken from the Fourth Gospel, are in 
the " Rig Veda." 

" O Indra, we sages have been in thee." 
" This worshipper, O Agni, hath been in thee ! O son of 
strength." 3 

In point of fact, a triad like that of Philo and the Thera- 
peuts has existed in India from the earliest days. 

" The deities invoked," says Colebrooke in his " Essay on 
the Vedas," " appear on a cursory inspection of the Veda to 
to be as various as the authors of the prayers addressed to 
them ; but, according to the most ancient annotations of the 

1 " The Relation between Christianity and Hinduism/ p. 2. 

2 " Rig Veda," x. 121. i. 3 " Metrical Translations," p. 14. 


Indian scripture, those numerous names of persons and things 
are all resolvable into different titles of three deities, and 
ultimately of one God." 1 

The triune nature of the Vedic divinity is accentuated all 
through the hymns with every conceivable play of fancy. 
Knowledge of God is called " triple knowledge ; " his revela 
tion the " triple Veda," the " triple speech." " May the soft 
wind waft to us a pleasant healing ! May mother earth and 
father heaven convey it to us ! ... We invoke that lord of 
living beings," etc. 2 This lord of living beings is Purusha, 
the god-man, born of the inactive god and Aditi or Sophia. 
This birth was typified in every rite. The fire-churn was in 
the form of the swastika, the fish of the zodiac, and from it 
Agni was born, as Krishna from the black and white hairs, at 
every sacrifice. He was also the Sisur Jatah produced by 
the offerings of rice and milk. 

I will give what the Scotch call a paraphrase of a fine 
hymn to Vishnu, in the "Vishnu Purana," which seems to set 
forth Indian theosophy very clearly. 

" Ruler of gods and kings, 
Thou dost enfold the spaces near and far ; 
System and shining orb and peopled star 

With thy Garuda wings. 

" For their fantastic creeds 
Men fashion gods with legs and arms of stone ; 
No legs nor arms hast thou of gods alone, 

Though near all needs. 

" Eyes hast thou not, nor ears ; 
Yet hearest thou all sounds that shake the air, 
The whispered villainy, the baby s prayer, 

Man s uttered wants and fears. 

" Seekers of heavenly light, 
Two secrets know the Higher Wisdom this 
The Lower Wisdom probes the blank abyss 

Of earthly appetite. 

1 " Essays," vol. i. p. 25. 2 " Rig Veda," i. 


" It learns how kings are crowned ; 
How Brahmins chant, and what will fatten kine ; 
Seeks gold in streams, and jewels in the mine ; 

Makes wealth abound. 

" To the dim Far away 

The Higher Wisdom turns with hungered eye ; 
It scans the stars uncounted in the sky, 

It bursts its bonds of clay. 

" It probes the heart of man ; 
He forms the potent longing in his brain, 
Desire deceives, and every hope is vain ; 

His life one baffled plan. 

" He looks within to find 
Ideas of life distinct from mortal scheming, 
Fancies and wants transcending mortal dreaming. 

He sees thy mind. 

" Both of these lores art thou ! 
We image thee a man with human breast, 
Gored with the shaft of hate and love s unrest, 

A man with fevered brow ! 

" As God we view thee too, 
All wise, all good ! with thy three mystic paces, 
The welkin s unimaginable spaces 

Were overlapped, Vishnu ! 

" Thou art the formless Brahm, 
The God that dwells in the awakened heart, 
The state our mystic dreamers know in part, 

Pure, passionless, and calm. 

" Earth s wailings sound afar, 
Crime rules, and Cruelty is throned on high ; 
Among the seven rishis in the sky, 

Glitters the mystic star. 

" It heralds thy new birth, 
Thy glorious avatara come again ! 
To bring fresh comfort to the sons of men, 

Thy holy feet touch earth." 



DR. J. VON HAHN, in analyzing the Aryan myth, sets forth 
amongst its characteristics the incident that the hero must 
found a city. 1 In the epic of the Five Sons of Pandu this is 
a prominent event. 

The country round modern Delhi is sad to the thoughtful. 
The step of the traveller is over crumbling civilizations and 
the overturned spires of dead nationalities. Here is a column 
on which Asoka, the Buddhist, preached peace and toleration. 
There is a ruined fane where crowds of unarmed Hindus fell 
before the scimitar of the bloody Nadir Shah. Around for 
miles and miles are the ruins, pile upon pile, of many cities. 
In ancient days the enervated Indians of the plain always fell 
a prey to the hardier races that emerged from the direction 
of Central Asia, through the passes of Afghanistan. Elephants 
in thousands, and unwieldy crowds of horsemen and spear 
men were hurried northward to oppose. But with Baber, 
Alexander, or Nadir Shah, the result was always the same. 
The onslaught of the hardier races resulted in a vast rout. 

Here Lake won India, and Archdale Wilson reconquered 
it. But the legend of the Five Sons of Pandu narrates a still 
more fierce struggle. On this field the Aryas gained a great 
victory over the Daisyas or black races, and then founded 
Indraprastha (ancient Delhi). 

The Aryas came from fabled Meru, with its seven famous 
streams. Sir H. Rawlinson believes these to be the seven 
head streams of the Oxus. Other writers point to "the great 

1 " Sagwissenschaftliche Studien." Jena, 1876. 


plateau, walled to the north by the Altai and to the south by 
the Himalaya, from which the great rivers flow northward 
eastward, and southward, through Siberia, China, and India, 
to the Arctic, Pacific, and Indian oceans." 1 It is asserted 
that the four great races of men, the Arya, the Semite, the 
Turanian, the Cushite, all came from this central table-land, 
as evidenced by their common legends. 

" Not far from the foot of the colossal Dhawalagiri, and 
Nanda-devi, and near the little town of Gartokh, lies the 
group of lakes called Ravana-Rhada, or Manasarowar. From 
these, or within a radius of thirty miles from the central one 
of the group, the four greatest rivers of India take their rise ; 
the Indus flowing to the north, the Ganges and its chief 
branch the Gogra to the south, the Brahmaputra to the east, 
and the Sutlej to the west. The Ganges, Brahmaputra, and 
Sutlej rise in the lakes." 2 Mr. Stanley holds, with many 
other writers, that Cashmir and Tibet were the paradise of 
Moses, Manu, and Zarathustra ; and that the serpents who 
drove them forth were the foaming torrents of a great debacle. 
This region fits in with Zarathustra s description of the 
" delicious region," and that suggested by Sir H. Rawlinson 
does not 

" Ahura Mazda said to the holy Zarathustra, I made most 
holy Zarathrustra into a delicious spot, what was previously 
quite uninhabitable. ... As the first and best regions and 
countries, I, who am Ahura Mazda, created Aryanam Vaejo of 
good capability. Thereupon, in opposition to it, Angro 
Mainyus, the death-dealing, created a mighty serpent and 
snow, the work of the devas. 

" Ten months of winter are there, two months of summer. 
Seven months of summer are there, five months of winter. 
The latter are cold as to water, cold as to earth, cold as to 
trees. There is midwinter, the heart of winter." 

This seems to mean, as Mr. Stanley plausibly suggests, 
that the region of the Aryas (Aryanam Vaejo) was at first 
temperate, and then a great change of climate set in. Snows 

1 Stanley, " Future Religion of the World," p. 88. 

2 Ibid., p. 100. 

2 C 


that gave only two months summer instead of seven ; a 
" flood " or inundation, typified in myths by the serpent. This 
flooding of the valley was the cause of the migration from this 
paradise, and is, perhaps, the deluge story common to the 
various legends of its inhabitants. 

The Aryas, when they came to India, had five gods, and 
a friend of mine who has studied India is convinced that the 
Rishi Pandu is in corrupted form Pan Deo (five gods). 

Pandu himself had nothing to do with the parentage of 
his five celebrated sons. Having accidentally killed a rishi, 
who had assumed the form of a deer, he had become an 
ascetic celibate. He had two wives, Kunti and Madri. Kunti, 
with an incantation given to her by an ancient rishi or adept, 
brought down three gods from the skies, one after another ; 
Dharma, who was the father of Yudhishthira ; Vayu, the 
wind, who begat Bhima, the Indian Hercules ; the great Indra 
himself, who was the father of Arjuna. The other wife sum 
moned the Aswins, or celestial twins, and they performed the 
impossible physiological feat of a double paternity. 

The wives are plainly the black and white mother in the 
ecliptic, and the five gods the four seasons, the four points of 
heaven, one of which is Gemini. They are the five heavenly 
Buddhas, the five creative ALons of the Gnostics. As the 
Pleiades regulated early agriculture, perhaps they suggested 
the number five. 

Shortly after the birth of his illustrious sons, Pandu dies, 
and the widows draw lots which shall commit widow immola 
tion in his honour. Madri mounts the pyre. It has been 
remarked by M. Senart that the mother of the demi-god, the 
Buddha, the Krishna, always dies in seven days. My ex 
planation is that the year opens with the celebration of the 
festival of the Black Durga, and when the sun enters Aries, 
seven days later, she is drowned or consumed. 

The five sons of Pandu are brought up in the palace of 
their uncle Dhritarashtra, King of Hastinapura. The throne 
belonged by right to Yudhishthira, the elder boy. A brood 
of a hundred first cousins, hatched of an egg like a scorpion, 
were the playfellows of the young princes. These cousins 


hated their playmates, and from their earliest years tried to 
poison them and otherwise get rid of them. Duryodhana was 
the name of the leading spirit amongst these hopeful infants. 
It was remarked at his birth that he at once gave forth dis 
cordant sounds like the braying of many asses. The vultures 
of the air and the foul jackals echoed these noises of ill-omen, 
and a terrible tempest began to roar. The sky was on fire. 
Duryodhana is plainly Rudra in the sign of Scorpio. This is 
confirmed by the fact that he had one hundred brothers, all 
born at a birth. Rudra, as we have shown, has a hundred 

Then certain soothsayers came to King Dhritarashtra and 
said to him : " The portents, O king, are terrible. Your 
nephew, Yudhishthira, is heir to the crown. This son of yours, 
born amidst the roaring of wild beasts, presages great calami 
ties to your offspring. The wise have said, * Sacrifice one 
man for the safety of a family. Sacrifice a family for the 
benefit of a village. Sacrifice a village for a nation. Sacrifice 
the whole world to save one s soul. Make away with your 
son to save his brothers. If he lives, they will be destroyed." 

This allusion to human sacrifices shows the great antiquity 
of the legend. At the date of the " Yagur Veda " the form of 
tying the human victims to posts was alone gone through. 
No actual immolation took place. 

Dr. J. von Hahn sets down that another token of the 
hero of Aryan legend is that he must be driven forth from 
his home at an early age, owing to tokens and warnings of 
his future greatness. In the case of the five sons of Pandu 
this quickly came about. Arjuna learnt the use of the bow, 
and Bhima that of the club. They became so expert, that 
the soothsayers were alarmed, and this time recommended 
the king to make away with them. Alarmed, he consents to 
an infamous plan set on foot by Duryodhana to burn the 
five sons of Pandu. But Vidura, the uncle of the youths, was 
an adept in occult wisdom. By means of his arts he became 
acquainted with the peril that menaced them. He packed off 
silently the mother and her five sons in a large boat on the 
Ganges. Although this occurred, as some have said, before 


the siege of Troy, the large boats of the Ganges are as 
archaic now as then. In their boat, the fugitives, aided 
by the current, dropped down to Varanavata, the modern 

But the malice of a young man like Duryodhana can go 
faster than a boat drifting with the stream. He despatched 
an agent, named Purochana, to Varanavata. This man was 
entrusted with the details of an infamous plot He summoned 
workmen to erect a palace of great magnificence, to be called 
the House of Delight This palace had four great halls. It 
was erected at some little distance from the town. Hemp, 
and resin, and shellac were plentifully used in its construc 
tion. The shellac was mixed with oil and grease and other 
inflammable materials. The palace, which it is announced 
was erected very rapidly, was probably of the pattern of the 
veneered wooden structures of Chinese architecture. All 
things likely to inflame quickly were left carelessly lying about 
" Of a truth," said an observer, " this is not the House of 
Delight, but the House of Calamity." 

The fugitives were dwelling in another building. They 
were invited by Purochana to occupy the House of Delight. 
The inhabitants of Allahabad had been very civil to them, 
especially the better-to-do folks. The Aryas of those days 
drew a line between "carriage company" (rathinam) and 
company that had no carnages. The Aryas of Cheltenham 
and Torquay are credited with formulating similar distinc 

The subtle Purochana did his best to lull the victims into 
a false sense of security whilst he waited for a propitious day 
for his crime. Exquisite food and delicious drinks, soft 
couches and royal thrones were provided ; silver vases, gold 
dishes, and sumptuous furniture. 

But Vidura afar, by means of his occult arts, detected the 
great danger that threatened his nephews. He sent an 
emissary to give them warning. 

" I am a miner," said a stranger one day. " I come from 
Vidura. On the fifteenth day of the dark half of this month, 
Purochana will try to burn you all alive." It was arranged 


that this expert miner should secretly prepare a subterranean 
passage for the escape of Kunti and her five sons. 

When this was finished, one night, a Nishadi woman, one 
of the wild tribes of the Vindhya mountains, "vexed by 
Famine and pushed on by Death," as the poem tersely puts 
it, arrived at the House of Delight with her five barbarian 
sons. They were feasted, and became very intoxicated. It 
seemed to the five sons of Pandu that the moment of escape 
had come. 

At once Bhimasena the Hercules applied a torch to the 
room where the treacherous Purochana was sleeping, and 
promptly disposed of him. He also set a light to the four 
doorways of the House of Shellac. In a short time the whole 
building was a vast conflagration. The citizens of Varanavata 
arrived in great terror. Afar the tempest muttered hoarsely. 

Kunti and her five sons hurried rapidly through the sub 
terranean passage. They escaped unseen in the darkness of 
night to a forest. The mother grew weary, but her strong 
son Bhimasena carried her in his arms like an infant. The 
poor drunken Nishadi woman and her five sons were con 
sumed. Their corpses were found, and the inhabitants of 
Varanavata wept for the death of the five sons of Pandu. By- 
and-by the fugitives grew thoroughly exhausted, and they 
slept on cold mother earth. Bhimasena alone kept awake to 
watch over them. The sight of his queenly mother sleeping 
like a beggar under a tree vexed this stout-hearted youth. 

"The poem of the Mahabharata, " says the missionary 
Ward, is deemed so holy, " that it purifies the place in which 
it is read." 1 He adds that a Brahmin may not enter a village 
where a copy of it is not to be found. 

On the other hand, our Sanskrit professors are constantly 
pointing out to us that this celebrated poem, far from being 
very holy, is often very much the reverse. Thus Professor 
Monier Williams has some virtuous indignation at the five 
sons of Pandu for their treacherous conduct in leaving the 
poor Nishadi woman and her sons to burn. 2 Plainly, he 

1 " The Hindoos," vol. iii. p. 279. 

2 " Indian Epic Poetry/ p. 54. 


would never send for a copy of the volume if he wished to 
deodorize his native village morally. How is it that these 
Pundits differ so radically ? Simply because the literal 
English mind cannot get beyond the letter of the scripture, 
and the Hindus declare that the letter is only for the vulgar. 

In the Mundaka Upanishad of the " Atharva Veda," Sau- 
naka, a wealthy householder, questioned the Rishi Angiras,who 
told him that there were two sorts of knowledge. There were 
the four Vedas, the "Rig Veda," the "Yagur Veda," the "Sama 
Veda," and the "Atharva Veda ; " these were the scriptures of 
the "inferior knowledge." But the "superior knowledge" is not 
to be gained in books. It evaded " rites and rules of grammar." 
It was the interior knowledge of the Omniscient. 1 The object 
of scriptures was to conceal as well as to inculcate the highest 
truths. It was judged that most men could not receive them. 
Can we get at the secret meaning of this episode ? 

On the surface, the story of the " House of Shellac " is 
mystical. The apparatus of villainy and the expedients to foil 
it are suspiciously elaborate. Why build a sumptuous palace, 
if you want to murder half a dozen unbefriended fugitives ? 
Why construct toilsome subterranean galleries, if you want to 
run away from an assassin ? But if, as I have suggested, 
Kunti and her sons mean the new year and the four seasons, 
then Nishadi and her sons mean the old year and the four 
seasons. It was necessary to destroy these by fire, as it is 
the appearance of Agni as Aries that puts an end to them. 
It was necessary that Kunti should escape through a cavern, 
the symbol of earth-life. 

The fugitives escape to a forest and slaughter a mighty 
demon, who falls headlong " like an ox." They then attend 
a great festival, where the beautiful princess Draupadi appears 
as a matchless prize if any competitor can bend a mighty 
bow. Duryodhana and the wicked cousins try and fail. 
Arjuna comes forward and succeeds. Draupadi became the 
common wife of the five sons of Pandu. In reality, the five 
sons were one man. 

When the Kuru faction returned to Hastinapura, they 
1 Colebrooke. " Essays," vol. 1. p. 94. 


talked over the striking events of the Swayamvara and came 
to the conclusion that the successful strangers, for they were 
in disguise, could be no other than Bhima and Arjuna escaped 
from the old snares. Many schemes were proposed in the 
crisis. Duryodhana was in favour of assassination, Kama 
proposed manly and open warfare, Vidura and the holy men 
suggested compromise. This last proposal was adopted, and 
half the kingdom was given to the five sons of Pandu. In the 
terrible jungle of Khandava Prastha they were now to found 
the city of Indraprastha, or Delhi. 

The table-land by Indra s heavenly mount. This is the 
literal meaning of Indraprastha. Indraprastha is heaven, and 
Kuru Kshetra, the real head-quarters of the Kurus, is called 
hell in one or two of the legends, without any disguise. The 
sun each year builds up a celestial kingdom, the kingdom of 

The account of Indraprastha states that " it was adorned 
like paradise." After preliminary sacrifices a propitious spot 
had been measured out. Soon upsprang mighty ramparts 
and towers like the gorged clouds of autumn. White palaces 
pierced the skies like the pinnacles of Meru. The great gates 
were like the bird Garuda with its wings outspread. The 
ditches in front of the ramparts were like the ocean. The 
streets were broad. In many gardens the asoka and the 
feathery pippala, the branching palm and the bamboo, the 
sweet pink laurel and the bignonia were heavy with bright 
and musical birds. Upon the broad surfaces of the lakes, 
which were fringed with the blue lotos, swam red geese and 
white swans. Cunning pictures were in the halls of the 
palaces. Indraprastha sparkled like a city in the clouds, like 
the heaven of Indra. 

The city of the poet s dream, the Atlantis, the Indra 
prastha, is generally the exact opposite of the city wherein 
he dwells. Applying this test to the Mahabharata," we might 
get a great deal of insight into the actual India of the period. 
In Indraprastha, every poor man had a settled occupation, for 
all enemies were exterminated, and truth was maintained. 
Agriculture flourished. Indra sent rain exactly as it was 


called for, and the reason is a curious one. The rich nobles 
gave plenty of gifts to the Brahmins. Commerce flourished 
also, thanks to the supervision of the king ; and no favourite 
could obtain an unjust decree. Drought was unknown, and 
inundations, pestilence, and fever, for the department of 
priestly meteorology was well worked. A poet who sees 
everywhere around him suborned justice, and violence, and 
spoliation ; and who is liable at any moment to be himself 
offered up to Rudra as a captive of war might well indulge in 
such happy dreams. 

Seated on thrones, the founders of Indraprastha dispensed 
patriarchal justice to all who sought it. They also enlarged 
their domains by successful war. One day, a Brahmin had 
his cows stolen from him. He appealed to Arjuna, but the 
arms of the community were in the king s house, and it was 
the turn of the king to possess the beautiful Draupadi for a 
week. It had been arranged that any son of Pandu who 
disturbed his brother under these circumstances should be 
banished to the forest for twelve years. Arjuna, balanced 
between duty and exile, chose the path of duty. He righted 
the wrongs of the poor Brahmin, and then went into voluntary 
exile in the forest, like Rama. When there, he puts out a 
burning wood, and rescues an Undine in a lake the fire and 
water ordeals of the mysteries. Then, assisted by Krishna, 
the five sons of Pandu capture Magadha after a severe fight. 
As Krishna, acting as charioteer, drives Arjuna along, the bird 
Garuda comes down and perches on his banner. 

An episode of the " Mahabharata" illustrates the crisis of the 
story. It is recorded that Nala, King of Nishada, fell in love 
with the beautiful Damayanti, and won her at a Swayamvara 
held by her father the King of Berar. Sani, a baffled suitor 
and a malevolent being, cozens Nala out of his kingdom at a 
game of dice. The lovers, stripped of their possessions, repair 
to a forest ; and the king, finding the life too hard for his 
delicate wife, leaves her sleeping under a tree, hoping that 
that will induce her to return to her father s house. Lament 
ing, she seeks her husband over many a weary mile, and 
eventually becomes maid of honour to a certain queen. Nala 


repairs to the same court, but he has become so black that no 
one can recognize him. He engages himself as a cook. 
Eventually Damayanti recognizes her husband, and the pair 
recover their kingdom. Here we have the backbone of the 
" Mahabharata ; " for the heroes also disguise themselves as 
menials. A king becomes a slave at the constellation of 
Libra. Whether this probably very old legend was the original 
form of the Mahabharata legend would be a curious inquiry. 

This gives in epitome the story of the five sons of Pandu. 
They are invited to a great feast by the treacherous Kurus 
who have hatched another plot. This is to inveigle Arjuna 
into a gambling bout with a noted cheat. He stakes his gold, 
his jewels, his dominions. He stakes his people, his brothers, 
his wife. He loses at every bout. The feast of course is the 
feast of Durga, who is also worshipped as Lakshmi (whence 
our word " luck ") at this season, and all the natives still 
gamble immensely at the game of Pasha. The gambling is 
really the mysterious destiny that mortals see around them, 
which gives us health, life, joy, friends, loved ones, and then 
destroys our air-built castles. 

When the five sons of Pandu have become the chattels of 
the sons of Kuru, their clothes are torn off their backs. It is 
proposed to subject the beautiful Draupadi to the same in 
dignity. Isis must be unveiled. Duhsasana drags her into 
the midst of the assembly by the hair of her head. This 
rouses the terrible Bhima, and the spoils won by cheating seem 
likely to be lost again through his great rage. Eventually 
matters are compromised. The kingdom was given up to 
Duryodhana for twelve years. The five sons of Pandu agreed 
to pass twelve years as ascetics in a forest. They were then 
to get back the kingdom. Accompanied by poor Draupadi 
they set out for the Kamyaka jungle on the banks of the 

This river was as holy to the early Aryas as the Ganges 
afterwards became to their descendants. Under instructions 
from the Brahmin Dhaumya Yudhishthira practises yoga under 
a tree. That of course was the meaning of the gambling and 
of the brothers becoming slaves. They had entered the 


mystic portal of the interior life. They sat under the tree 
where broods Garuda, the fire-dove. There is a fine hymn to 
this bird in the epic. 

" Of lofty race art thou, 
The first of winged things that cleave the sky; 

Thou art the king of birds ! 

Thou art a god in heaven ! 

Agni thy name, and Wind, 

And Brahm the lotus-born ; 

Thou art the Holy Book, 

Thou art the Priceless Food 

That touching mortal lips brings deathless being. 
Aloft upon thy shining wings outspread 
Thou bear st the splendours of the universe. 

Thou art the sisters twain, 

That weave the double woof, 
Rapture and pang, bright deeds and infamy. 
Forth through the gleaming orbs that round us sail. 

Forth through the spirit spheres, 
Impalpable to grosser mortal ken, 

Thy fame is gloried near and far 
In all the mansions of the infinite. 

The life that came and went, 

The life that is to be, 

O mystic bird art thou ! 

Thy name is Death. 

Thou art the forky flame of smoke, 

That with black wings that blot the sun, 
Amid amazement and great quiverings 
Will scorch the systems and burn out the life, 

In the great day of Brahm. 

Prostrate before thy feet, 
We beg protection from the King of Birds, 
Whose sheen makes dim the flashes of the storm, 

Whose wings outroar the thunder. 
Thy flaming body fills us with affright, 

We dread its hugeness. 

Temper thy blinding rage, 

Temper thy swelling form, 

Prostrate we breathe our prayer, 

Be good to us, sweet god, 

And wing us peace." 

I have said that the brothers and Draupadi eventually 
travesty themselves as servants. This is said to be done for 
fear of Duryodhana and his malice. I suspect they were 


real slaves in the original story. The transformation gives 
rise to some clever comedy. They repair to the court of 
King Virata at Matsya. Yudhishthira is master of the 
ceremonies and head-dicer to the king. Bhima is cook. 
Nakula is groom. Sahadeva is herdsman. Arjuna puts on 
a woman s dress, and conceals the scars of the twanging bow 
Gandiva with many bracelets and trinkets. He is a eunuch 
in the women s apartments. The magic arms are stowed 
away in a hollow tree in a cemetery. On this a corpse is 
swinging. This method of disposal of the dead seems to give 
the poem great antiquity. At the time of the secession of 
Zarathustra, corpses were thus left to be devoured by vultures 
and dogs. 

For two thousand years at least the " Mahabharata " has 
been sung daily in all the Indian villages. For two thousand 
years at least its incidents have been worked up into miracle 
plays and acted at every great mystery and festival of the 
people. The comedy of the disguised heroes has had its 
share of popularity no doubt It shows considerable know 
ledge of comedy intrigue. The heroes in their forest are 
afraid of the malice of Duryodhana. They don their dis 
guises as described. Draupadi goes to the palace as servant 
to the queen. The favourite wife of King Virata is called 
Sudeshna, and she has a brother a mighty warrior, who is 
the commander of all King Virata s forces. This brother 
is named Kichaka. Brother and sister are soon consumed 
with passion. One is madly jealous of the beauty of 
Draupadi and fears her rivalry with King Virata. The other 
is madly in love with her. An infamous alliance is the con 
sequence of these powerful incentives. Sudeshna plots with 
Kichaka to effect the ruin of Draupadi. 

The bold commander-in-chief is not long in declaring his 

" Thine eyes are very large, O woman of amazing beauty. 
Thine eyebrows are like the petals of the lotus. Thy face 
beams on mine eyes like the soft light of the moon. 

" Art thou Lakshmi in person, or Modesty, or Fame, or 
Beauty, or Auspicious Fortune ? 


" Hast thou robbed Love of his limbs ? 

" The pupils of thy smiling eyes are veiled by their lashes 
as the moon by a fleecy cloud." 

The honest warrior then proceeds to catalogue her beauties 
with an old-world literalness which shocks modern mission 
aries when they hear these songs droned out in the hush of 
a summer evening, accompanied by the rude music of an 
Indian bazaar ; but the general tone of the narrative is lofty, 
and the ethics unswerving. Kichaka offers to make all his 
wives her slaves, and give all his wealth to the beautiful 
stranger. Draupadi frames her answers with strong and 
evident desire to avoid extremes. 

" My caste is abject. I am a servant. I dress the hair 
of my mistress. 

" I am the wife of another. The wives of mortals are 
sacred. Remember thy duty. Five beings, superhuman, 
strong, terrible, watch over me. Thy craze to hold me in 
thine arms is like the delirium of the sick man in the presence 
of the tomb. The sinful mind that feeds on desire tastes 
infamy, perhaps death." 

The bold warrior is not to be frightened. The plot 
develops rapidly, and so do the schemes of the impassioned 
brother and sister. She orders poor Draupadi to go to the 
house of Kichaka alone in the middle of the night. He 
possesses a delicious beverage. It is to be found in no other 
house ; and the queen is thirsty. Poor Draupadi remonstrates : 
" I cannot go to his house, O queen. He is immodest, with 
out fear, without honour. Love puffs him out with an 
insensate pride." 

The queen haughtily presents a golden vase to Draupadi, 
and orders her to go. She is called a voluntary servant in 
parts of the narrative ; but it is plain, from some of the warm 
sapphics of the general, that she was completely naked and in 
fact a slave. 

But plot can be met with counterplot. Kichaka has the 
subtle Sudeshna as an ally. Draupadi confides her woe to 
Bhima. The catastrophe is tremendous. Kichaka, seeing a 
veiled female alone in a solitary bedroom, seizes her in his 


strong arms, and gets a return embrace which rather astonishes 
him. He is enlaced in the terrific hug of the Indian Hercules, 
and his life is literally squeezed out of him. This denouement 
acted before a rude audience in an Indian bazaar would be 
very effective. It may have been witnessed by Alexander the 
Great and Arthur, Duke of Wellington. According to some 
writers, chronology is no bar to Achilles having seen it. The 
travesty of the five brothers may have been seen by Buddha, 
Pythagoras, and Albert, Prince of Wales. Who can tell when 
this felicitous comedy was put on the stage and when it will 
be taken off? 

Our drama develops. The bold soldier Kichaka had one 
hundred brothers, which proves him to have been of the same 
mystic insect tribe as Scorpio. To avenge his death, they 
seize on Draupadi, and carry her off with his much mangled 
body to the graveyard. If she would not be his mistress on 
earth, she must go to his zenana in heaven. Her cries, as they 
are proceeding to burn her, attract the bold Bhima. He tears 
up a tree in the grave-yard, and makes sad havoc amongst 
the children of Rudra. Other complications soon occur. The 
brave Kichaka awed the neighbouring nations, and his death 
was the signal for much cattle-lifting and many raids. Duryo- 
dhana and the sons of Kuru took part in one of these expedi 
tions. In another, Virata was seized. Uttara, his son, to 
rescue him, hurried away with an army. Arjuna was his 
charioteer. The boy s heart failed him, and he jumped out 
and ran away. Arjuna forced him back, and recovering for 
the nonce the terrible bow Gandiva, the hero returned to the 
fight, the boy this time acting as the charioteer. The 
unrivalled archer soon dispersed his foes. And to keep up 
his disguise, he fathered all this prowess on the young boy. 
The donkey in the lion s skin is as old as the day of Arjuna, 
as old as the world. 

Virata, once more at liberty, holds a council of war. At 
it he is astonished to see his head dancing-master and dicer, 
his head eunuch, his cook, his cowherd, etc. Krishna is there 
likewise, for Duryodhana refuses to give back the kingdom 
now that the stipulated thirteen years are expired. Krishna 


counsels peace, but though he is looked upon by both sides as 
God Almighty on earth, no one pays any attention to him. 
The reason of this is plain. At the time he was clumsily 
added to the story, every man, woman and child in the 
humblest bazaar knew every detail of the great battle of Kuru 
Kshetra. He could not be made to take a prominent part in 
it, for the prowess of Bhima and Arjuna had been sung by 
countless wandering bards. A very lame explanation is 
given that he could not take an active part in the contest 
because the Kurus were his cousins as well as the five sons 
of Pandu. When all hope of peace has departed, he consents 
to act as charioteer to Arjuna. 

A scene of the Homeric pattern takes place at Hastinapura 
when the ambassador of the five sons of Pandu arrives. 
Kama, the Achilles of the army of the sons of Kuru, makes a 
speech breathing defiance. Dhritarashtra, the blind king, and 
Bhishma counsel caution. Negotiations continue for some 
time but without result. 

Excepting when drilled by English or, French drill- 
sergeants, the barbaric hordes of India have always fought in 
one way. A Bahador or doughty hero comes to the front 
and inspires his followers and confounds his foes by a flood of 
what he calls gali (heroic Billingsgate). He compares the 
first to mighty elephants in the rutting season and Bengal 
tigers. He compares his foes to pigs, to owls, and throws 
serious doubts on the question of their birth in lawful wedlock. 
It has been the fate of the present writer to witness an engage 
ment where this ancient Indian method of warfare was adopted. 
The bow Gandiva twanged, and arrows fell thickly amongst 
our sepoys. The drum of Rudra kept up a weird continuous 
dull reverberation. Men as naked and almost as well limbed 
as Bhima and the Raksha when they wrestled (and the fate of 
Hidamba was in the balance) flashed rude battle-axes and 
swords aloft and shouted. These poor black men still 
worshipped the serpent. They sacrificed a kid under the 
holy Sal tree as our party came up, and we found the little 
victim still warm. They were simple herdsmen and clearers 
of jungle like the historical and early sons of Pandu. They 


slaughtered deer with their arrows. They were brave and 
truthful. Even before a court-martial they never attempted 
to conceal any acts of rebellion and breaches of the law. We 
came upon them in luxuriant bush amidst woody hillocks. 
The sun was setting, and I can see before me still the rude 
chief brandishing his sword and uttering his defiance to the 
bullets that were whistling near him. Mismanagement had 
driven these men (they were called Santals) into revolt. Their 
lair consisted of a few rude huts roofed with dried boughs. 

I think this experience is of use to me in enabling me to 
understand the great battle of Kuru Kshetra. Axes and 
swords flashed ; the drum of Rudra rolled incessantly. It is 
called a " thunder " in more than one passage. We here get 
the root idea of that popular military instrument. Conch 
shells sounded. Even the five heroic sons of Pandu con 
descended to intimidate their foes with loud blasts of that 
archaic music. From the paramount importance given to 
archery in all the Indian epics, I think the chief tactics on 
these occasions consisted in first trying to weaken portions of 
the enemy s line with a skilful use of the bow. We hear 
of terrible charges of " thousands " of elephants, and tens of 
thousands of war chariots ; but, if any such organized and com 
bined attack had been made, the battle would have been 
ended in half an hour. The commander-in-chief of the Kuru 
army, Bhishma, was a wonderful bowman. Sweta, the rival 
commander-in-chief, was almost his equal. When com- 
manders-in-chief are selected for their skill in archery, we 
may be sure that much of the battle will take place with 
the two forces not nearer than convenient bow-shot distance. 

And this seems to have been what really occurred. 
" Heroes sounded hundreds of drums and sent up noble 
shouts of war." 1 " Torrents " of arrows passed between the 
armies ; and the click of the bow-string against the hand- 
leather dominated the bells of the elephants and the neighing 
of the horses. The rival commanders had to show them 
selves in the front of the battle, and the early descriptions 
are devoted chiefly to them. 

1 "Bhishma Parva," 1631. 


"They described various circles, sweeping forward and 
back, so great was the skill of their coachmen. Each watched 
his opportunity for an attack." They sounded their conchs 
to outroar the din of battle. They emptied their quivers 
with terrible effect. 

If an archaic Jomini had had to draw up the three great 
maxims of ancient battle, they must have been the following : 

1. Try with your arrows to make the rival commander-in- 
chief as much like "& poulet piqiie au lard as is practicable. 

2. Try and kill the horse of his chariot. 

3. Try and knock over his banner. 

Of these maxims the last was evidently considered the 
most important. Archers were trained by Brahmins, and 
charms and incantations were deemed more potent than eye 
and muscle. From the pains taken to strike down a hero s 
banner it is plain that it was held to possess some weird 
influence. It was important to slay the horse, because when 
the warrior alighted he ran a great danger of being ridden 
over and trampled to death. The feat of transfixing his body 
with many arrows seemed to be held in less esteem. The 
commanders-in-chief, Bhishma and Sweta. in their great 
personal encounter, are stated to have been both stuck all 
over with shafts, without apparently arresting their ardour. 
And Dhrishtadyumna put " ninety sharp arrows " into 
Drona. 1 

Sweta lost his car and was killed eventually by Bhishma. 
The shafts of that terrible archer created something like 
a panic in the army of the sons of Pandu. 

Although much in his narrative is mystic, the poet gives 
us a real picture of an Indian battle in those ancient times. 
We have the flights of arrows, the single combats with dart 
and sabre, with breast-plate and shield. Duryodhana and 
Kama are conspicuous for their prowess in one part of the 
field. Arjuna and Bhima are terrible in another. The fight 
lasts several days, and soon the spectacle of the theatre of 
carnage is frightful to contemplate. 

" The field of battle was covered with tall chiefs, sons of 
1 " Bhishma Parva," 2200. 


kings dying or dead, wearing their earrings and armlets. 
There were chariots with broken wheels, and crushed 
elephants. Foot soldiers fled pell-mell amongst the horse 
men. Fighting men in chariots fell in all directions. Over 
turned cars and torn flags, wheels and shafts, encumbered the 

" Bathed in the red blood of many horses and elephants 
and brave men, the battle-field shone out like a cloud of 

"Dogs and crows, vultures and jackals, snarled and 
snapped and pecked over this rich prey. Quadrupeds and 
birds of the air became fierce foes. 

" The winds moaned with the voice of the Rakshasas, the 
murky legions of hell." l 

But Bhishma is still the great hero, and many kings visit 
the world of Yama. The ten points of heaven are darkened 
with his shafts. 

" He stood bow in hand between the two armies, and no 
king could fix his eye upon him. None can stare at the 
blinding sun in the noontide of his career." 

At length, on the tenth day of the fight, Arjuna drew 
near, with his ape banner fluttering in the breeze. The bow 
Gandiva was pitted against the powerful bow of Bhishma. 
Other heroes came up to assist the brave son of Pandu. 
Shafts in thousands flew at the heroic Bhishma ; his breast 
plate was beaten to pieces, and his body torn with darts and 
javelins and golden arrows, with clubs, with the weapon 
called " scorpion " (Sathagni), with the mysterious Bhusundi, 
which many scholars conceive to have been a pre-historic piece 
of artillery. At last his banner is lying in the bloody mud, the 
vexed hero is brought to the ground, and the fierce battle is 
hushed with the crash of his fall. Heroes of both armies 
crowd round him, and the bright forms of Vyasa and other 
heavenly messengers are patent to his dying eyes. They tell 
him that the portals of Swarga, the shining refuge of the 
brave man who falls in battle, are already swinging wide open 
to receive him. 

1 " Bhishma Parva," vv. 5504-10. 

2 D 


The account of his death is very pathetic. His body is so 
transfixed with shafts that they actually prop him up on the 
bloody battle-field. He calls this heroic couch, a bed of 
arrows. Also he goes so far as to demand a grim boon from 
Arjuna, three new arrows to act as a pillow and prop up his 
head. Leeches draw near, and cunning arrow-extractors, but 
he beckons them away. 

" The shafts of Arjuna are the messengers of Yama," he 
says. " They pierce through strong breast-plates, and like 
serpents full of venom they eat into my flesh. They are not 
like the puny missiles Sikhandi." 

He lingers until the sun s cycle has reached " the northern 
point " (entered Sagittarius), and then the white swans of 
Swarga fly down and carry off his soul. 

Plainly in the epic there are two Rudras one the vulgar 
villain, with the poison of the scorpion. He is Duryodhana. 
But Bhishma in this canto is noble and majestic. The sun is 
in Scorpio, and the shapeless monolith worshipped during the 
month would represent to the Vedic worshipper the storm- 
cloud with its many shining arms. Its lightnings spread 
death and desolation, but still it is an aspect of the Eternal 
as much as the smiling flowers of May. It is to be remarked 
that the war arose from the capture of cattle by the sons of 
Kuru. The demon Vritra had carried them to his celebrated 
cavern. The last act of Bhishma is to request Arjuna to 
give him water. This is effected by an arrow which creates 
a spring in the ground. The thunderbolt of Indra calls 
forth the fertilizing moisture of the storm. The hero with 
his thousand adhering arrows is Scorpio again with his 
thousand arms, and the "pillow" the tridentine horns or 
crest. In case this somewhat overdone symbolism should 
still fail to impress initiates, King Yudhishthira before the 
battle takes off his breast-plate and tiara, and goes forward to 
kiss Bhishma s feet, humble and naked, like a slave. 

The fall of Bhishma, in the old story, was probably the 
end of the campaign ; but ballad-makers like plenty of fight 
ing. Drona succeeds Bhishma, but he is decapitated by 
Dhrishta-dyumna, the rival commander-in-chief. Bhima 


encounters Duhsasena, who had dragged in Draupadi when 
she was won as a slave. As a retaliation, Bhima cuts off his 
head and drinks his blood on the field of battle. The mighty 
Kama s head is also taken off by a weapon called an anjalika, 
launched by Arjuna. Duryodhana, by-and-by, is the only 
chief of note left alive. He escapes to a subaqueous cavern. 
There he is sheltered by his magic arts for a time ; but, stung 
by the taunts of his foes, he agrees to come out and fight 
Bhima with a club. Bhima slays him. Nearly all the forces, 
even of the sons of Pandu, were slain in the great fight. For 
victory Yudhishthira had a depeopled Indraprastha. 

The termination of the epic is so beautiful that it has been 
often translated. The five sons of Pandu, tired even of a 
heaven in the Khandava wood, resolve to journey to the 
eternal city on the steeps of Mount Meru. They depart with 
the royal Draupadi. Behind them follows a dog. The king, 
Yudhishthira, is seventh in the procession. Townsmen and 
the women of the palace accompany them for a short way, 
but none say " Return ! " The citizens at last bid farewell to 
the pilgrims. Then the five sons of Pandu and the queen 
journey towards the east. They yearn for union with Brahm. 
All worldly thoughts are suffocated. They pass many a sea 
and river, and many weary lands. Yudhishthira walks in 
front, then Bhima, then Arjuna ; The Twins follow. Then 
comes the Pearl of Wives the woman with the lotus 
eyes. The dog walks last. On the shore of a mighty ocean 
Arjuna casts into the waves the celebrated bow Gandiva and 
the magic double quiver. Soon the tall steeps of Himavat 
glow above them. Beyond the Himalayas is a sea of sand. 
Across this the pilgrims footed wearily in the direction of the 
Hindoo Koosh, which probably contains the highest mountain 
peaks of the world. By-and-by glad sight the icy spires 
of the heavenly mount are seen glowing pink in the evening. 
But poor Draupadi can only see the promised land from afar. 
She falls with weariness. Arjuna and the Twins also perish. 
Stout Bhima is astonished at this, and comes to the conclu 
sion that they are all too gross for heaven. 

This mysticism is a little intricate. We have seen from 


the Aitareya Brahmanam that Prajapati the Divine Male is 
the year. He is Animisha, the Sleepless God, and starts at 
the end of February a month whose symbol is quadruple. 
In all the old creeds this early god was quadruple. Bhima 
and the Twins and Arjuna (the bow) die, or are passed in the 
zodiac before Yudhishthira, whose symbol is the Man with 
the vase of Ichor, dominates. He stands alone with Yama s 
dog. Madame Blavatsky gives seven stages of spiritual pro 
gress which mortals after thousands and thousands of re-births 
will successively reach. 

1. The body (Rupa). 

2. Vitality (Jiva). 

3. Astral body (Linga sarira). 

4. Animal soul (Kama rupa), 

5. Human soul (Manas). 

6. Spiritual soul (Buddhi). 

7. Spirit (Atma). 

This, by many theosophists who have lost faith in the 
Russian lady, is still thought to be the esoteric doctrine of 
India, disclosed by Mr. Subba Row, I must acquit that 
Hindoo of any such complicity. These stages, if taken lite 
rally, and that we may take them literally Mr. Sinnett gives 
the Sanskrit words, are pure nonsense. Body, vitality, 
animalism, soul, and spirit (five of the stages), must be acquired 
simultaneously with individuality. But the hand of a Western 
is patent. All Easterns know that the linga sarira is the 
envelope of the soul from the moment of its existence, 
and in a re-birth may have been in existence fifty thousand 
years before the body then assumed. 1 The teachings of 
Madame Blavatsky were thus condensed in an article in the 
Saturday Review, which criticised my " Koot Hoomi Un 
veiled " 

1. There is no God. 

2. The great secret of magic is to perform miracles with 
His " ineffable name." 

3. Annihilation is the reward of the just. 

4. Annihilation is the punishment of the wicked. 

1 Colebrooke s " Essays," vol. i. p. 245. 


It is to be confessed that many graver teachers in India 
and the West have held some of these views ; but the original 
Mahabharata knew nothing of the modern misty doctrines of 
Moksha and Nirvana. The hero goes to the eternal heaven 
of God, a heaven tenanted by the seven great legions of dead 
men made wise (vidyadharas). I will conclude with a fine 
hymn that shows this. 


Eye of the World art thou ! 
The soul of every mortal and the Womb 
Of Being ! 

The huckster on the mart, 
The calm philosopher removed from broils, 

The yogi by his tree, 

All turn to thee. 

Natheless thou art the Way ! 

The Gate of Freedom ! 
Thou bear st the burthen of the universe, 

Lighting the gleaming worlds. 

And glowing with thy beams 
Our hearts grow pure ; and villainy 

Lets fall his cloak. 

Along the giddy pathway of the skies 
Thy car sails on to sound of mortal hymns 

And heavenly voices : 

The sweet Gandharves, the minstrels of the stars, 
The mighty Thirty-Three take up the sound. 
Thee, with rich lore of mystic rites, 
Adoring, to celestial eminence 

Indra arrived. 
And crowned with deathless flowers 

Plucked from immortal steeps, 
The Vidyadharas round thee stand 

Celestial courtiers, 

The seven great legions of dead men made wise. 
In all the hemispheres that zone on zone 
Climb up to Brahma s bliss, is none like thee ! 
Thou art the Light of Lights. Thy name is Power, 

Thy name is Love, 

Thy name is Truth. 
Thee Visvakarma, heavenly architect, 
Gave the great wheel that girds the ambient skies : 
Rise up each morn, sweet Light, or we are blind. 


A myriad years, so say our oracles, 
Make up that mighty cycle which we call 

A Day of Brahma ; 
Of which thou art the Embryo and End, 

The First and Last ! 
And soon thy fires from out the womb of earth, 

Hungry and vast, 

Midst many thunders pealing through the skies, 
And silent serpents shining in the cloud, 
A million worlds shall melt to nothingness 
And lay a dead race by its slumbering brothers ; 

Men call thee many names : 
The Twelve Adityas of the Zone of Heaven, 
Indra, and Rudra, Vishnu, Soul and Fire ! 
Eternal Brahma, Vivasvat, Pushan, 

Eternal Lord ; 

The Bird whose wings bring mortals skyey thought, 
The Nurse, The Egg of Death, the Sire of Day. 
The Mother of sweet Hours, the glittering God 
With locks of sunbeams and untiring steeds ; 
Thee I salute. Who trusts in thee 

Shall know no sorrow ! 


Acharya, 217 

Adam, the Book of, 95, 102 

Adi Buddha, supreme god in Nepal 
and Tibet, 197 

Aditi, the Vedic universal mother, 376 

Adityas, sons of Aditi, the months 
deified, 307 

^Eons, 234 

Agnosticism of early Buddhism dis 
proved, 216, 217 

Airavana, the elephant born of the 
water, 7 

Alexandria, important position of, 232 

Amaravati, bas-reliefs from, 83 

Amrita, Pali Amata, immortality, 
"bread of life," the food of the 
sacrifice after consecration, 83 

Arahat, one emancipated from re-births, 
an adept, 93 

Aries, a horse in the Indian zodiac, 

Arrah, the Grove of Perfection, 305 

Architecture, 206 

Arupuloka, heavens where form ceases, 


Asita and Simeon, analogy between, 20 

Asoka on " God," the future life, 
prayer, mysticism, etc. 219, 220; his 
attitude towards Buddhism, 215 

Atheism of early Buddhism disproved, 
216, 217 

Avataras, 365 

Avesthas, v. 

Avichi, the " rayless place, hell, 
purgatory, 21 1 


Bactria, 384 

Baptism, Buddhist rite of, 80 

Baptist, 99 

Beal, Professor, 206 

Bhagavat, 162 

Bhagavad Gita, 380 

Bhikshu, beggar, 143 

Bigandet, Bishop, 227, etc. 

Bimbisara and Herod, 24 

Blavatsky, dishonesty of Madame, ex 
posed, 358 

Bloody sacrifice, specially attacked by 
Buddha and his missionaries, 77 

Bodhi, the awakening of the spiritual 
life of the individual, I 

Body corporate ; priestly religion ; 
religion by, 288 

Brahma, union with, 6 1 

Brotherly Love, the Buddha of, vii. 

Buddha, esoterically God, exoterically 
Sakya Muni, 9 

results of his movement, 222 ; 

comes down to earth as a white 
elephant, 7 ; miraculous birth, 17 ; 
marriage, 47 ; the four presaging 
tokens, 47 ; leaves the palace, 57 ; 
sits under the tree of knowledge, no ; 
on the Brahmin religion, 57 ; his 
reform, 61 ; begins to preach, 213 ; 
the historical Buddha, 213 



Buddha, the supreme, 197 

Buddhas of the past, still worshipped ; 

proof that the nihilistic school was 

an innovating one, 221 
Buthos, the Gnostic, the same as the 

Buddhist Nirvritti, 234 

Ceylon, 218 

Chaitya, 215, 221 

Chakra, the swastika cross, in early 

Indian zodiac, 213 
Christianity, the higher, 288 
, lower, tries to combine two 

antagonistic ideas, Gnosticism and 

the lower Judaism, 288 
Colebrooke, Henry, best astronomer of 

Orientalists, 19 ; on the seven Vedic 

heavens, 21 1 ; derives Buddha s life 

from Rama, 314; higher wisdom, 

390 ; linga sarira, 404 
Corban, the sacrament in the Greek 

Church, 85 
Cosmology, the Buddhist, disproves 

nihilism in early Buddhism, 221 
Coulomb, a confederate of Madame 

Blavatsky ; revelations of, 358 
Cross, the sign of, in Buddhism and 

Christianity, 213 


Davids, T. W. Rhys, 186, 216 

" Dhammapada," 161 

Dharma, second person of Buddhist 

triad, 198 

, the laws of spirit, the wisdom of 

the other bank, 198 ; personified as 

a divine woman, 198 
Divo Vriksha, sacred tree of the " Rig 

Veda," 338 
Dragon, the celestial, 200 

Elephant, called Bodhi, Aravana, born 
of the waters ; symbol of the holy 
spirit, 7 

" Esoteric Buddhism " a pure inven 
tion of Madame Blavatsky, 358, 359 

Essenes described, 73 

Fasting, Buddha s forty-seven days, 112 

Feeding, Buddha, 85 

Fergusson, James, 206 

Fish, 214 

Flabellum, or fan, in early church, 202 

Foucaux, Philippe Edouard, 5, etc. 

Freemasonry, 360 

Garuda, 339 

Garutmat, the winged sun, the early 

scales of the zodiac, 339 
Gnosis, 2 
Gnostics, 233, et seq. 


Hanuman, 322 
Heavenly man, 9 

Hodgson, Brian, the orientalist, 235, etc. 
R., his able exposure of Madame 
Blavatsky, 358 
Horse, 330 
Horses, the four of the Apocalypse, 37 


Idols, homage of, to Buddha and to 

Christ, 28 

Inconceivable God, 6 
Indra, 340 

Jesus, genealogies, 10 ; miraculous con 
ception, II ; birth, 19; the star and 
the Magi, 19; Herod, 24; disputa 
tion with the doctors, 31 ; Egypt, 35 ; 
the Nazarite, 64 ; Jesus and the 
Baptist, 107 ; monastery of our Lord, 
127 ; twelve disciples, 138 ; Essenism 
in the New Testament, 144 ; Sermon 
on the Mount, 153 ; on the Me 
tempsychosis, 164; descent into hell, 
189; Transfiguration, 191; Last 
Supper, 193; full force of His great 
work misunderstood, 165 ; appears 
to James on the night of the Cruci 
fixion, 252 



Jinas, 221 

John the Baptist, 99 

Jordan, 103 


"Kabbalah," 3, 86 

Karli, cave temple of, 206 

Karma, the effects of sins or good 
deeds, which are supposed to land 
the doer in the hell Avlchi or the 
heavens of the Devaloka, and detain 
him until the said Karma is ex 
hausted. He is then born once more 
into the world, his Karma influencing 
the new birth, 211, 222 

Kellogg, Professor, 16 

Koot Hoomi, 357 

Krishna, 365, et scq. 

Kumbha, the Indian Aquarius, 120 

" Lalita Vistara," 5 

Lama, the grand, successor of Buddhist 

high priest at Nalanda, 227 
Lightfoot, Bishop, 257 
Liturgy, 205 
Lower world, a pattern of the upper, 

in the " Kabbalah," 5 


" Mahabharata," 384 

Mahacleo, a monolith or menhir, 
" Great God," a name of Siva, 307 

Mandala, mystic ring, 372 

Mansel, Dean, on the derivation of the 
Therapeuts from Buddhist mission 
aries, 2 

Mantra, prayer, charm, 224 

Milman, Dean, 75 

Monastery of our Lord, 127 

Mysteries, literal translation of sacra 
ment, 83 

Mystical Israel, 73 


Nairanjana, 114 

Name-giving of Jesus, not a Jewish 
rite, 22 

Nalanda, 216 

Nazarites or Hebrews, gospel of, 252 

Nirvana, 221 

Nirvanapura, 221 

Origen, on the function of Scriptures, 4 
Osiris, 347 

Padmapani, 235 

Pandu, from " Pandeo," the five gods, 

386 ; five sons of, 384 
Paramitas, 90, et seq. 
Philo, 73 
Pleroma, 234 
Pope, 227 
Prajna, 12 
Pravritti, 234 
Purusha, 5 
Pushya, Buddha s star, 19 


Rajagriha, 192 
Re-births, 163 
Religion in England, 272 
Rishis ; seven stars, 383 
Ritual, 206 
Rupaloka, 221 

Sabeans, disciples of the Baptist, 

Saint worship, 208 

Savitri, 333 

Seal of the heart of Buddha, 214 

Sephiroth, 90 

Seven angels, 12 

Seven stars, 12 

Simeon the Indian, 20 

Sparrows and Child Christ, 24 

Star of Buddha, 19 

Swastika, 214 

Therapeuts, 73 

Tidings, glad, in Buddhism, 157 

Tree, 328 



Trinity, 196 

Triratna, 196 

Trithemius, curious prophecy of, vi. 

Tulloch, Principal, on the Gnostics, 


Tusita heaven, 221 
Twelve great disciples of Buddha, 138 


Umbellum, 206 

Upham, " History of Buddhism," 213 

Utanka, initiation of the novice, 354 

Vedas, 23 

Vehicle, the Great, denies prolongation 
of individuality after the great en 
lightenment, 216, 217 


Wilson, on the Avesthas or Hypostases 
of the Trinity, v. 

Yoga (lit. "union"), the conjoining 
of heaven and earth, spirit and 
matter, the annihilation of the ego 
and merging of one s will with the 
divine will. Magical powers were 
conceived to be a result of the 
"union." Hence Yoga also means 
white magic, 61 

Zodiacal framework of 

legends, 35, et seq. 
bracelet, 123 

all sacred 





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